London Tribunal Approves £3bn Facebook Lawsuit

A London judge has approved a collective legal action against Facebook parent Meta over the monetisation of users’ personal data that could be worth up to £3 billion.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) approved the action brought by legal academic Liza Lovdahl Gormsen after rejecting an earlier version of it last year.

Gormsen argues Facebook users were not properly compensated for the use of their personal data because of Facebook’s dominance of the market for social media.

The lawsuit seeks about £2bn to £3bn in compensation based on the value users would have received if Facebook were not dominant, for users who held Facebook accounts from February 2016 to October 2023.

Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen

Mass compensation

Judge Marcus Smith said in a written ruling the case could be heard in “the first half of 2026 at the latest”.

Meta said the lawsuit is “entirely without merit” and that it would “vigorously defend” against them.

Its lawyers saying Gormsen’s calculations fail to take into account the economic value users receive from Facebook.

Last month, arguing before the tribunal against the case being approved, Meta said the claim’s methodology was “divorced from reality”.

‘Unfair bargain’

The new claim argues Facebook has “struck an unfair bargain with its users”, according to legal filings.

It says Facebook abused its market dominance by forcing individuals to share data with third parties as a “condition of accessing the platform”.

The requirement to allow Facebook to collect data from third-party sources, such as web browsing activities or third-party apps and services, allowed the company to make vast sums of money by selling more targeted advertising, for which users were not sufficiently compensated, the lawsuit argues.

Facebook said it is “committed to giving people meaningful control” of what information they share across its platforms and has a commitment to “invest heavily to create tools” for users to do so.

Rise in cases

Research published in January found collective actions in the UK had risen from £4bn in 2021 to £26bn in 2022 due to a legal change allowing individuals to sue on behalf of potentially huge numbers of claimants without their express mandate or knowledge, unless they expressly opt out.

Ten of the 14 collective actions filed over the past two years in the UK were against tech multinationals, including Apple, Google and Sony.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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