Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, is facing a 2.3 billion pound ($3.2 billion) class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom for allegedly abusing its market dominance by exploiting the personal data of 44 million users.
According to a recent report, Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a competition law academic and senior adviser to Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said she was initiating the case on behalf of consumers in the United Kingdom who used Facebook between 2015 and 2019.
The lawsuit claims that the American tech giant made billions of pounds by imposing unreasonable terms and conditions that required users to submit valuable personal data in order to access the network. As per Reuters, the case will be heard by London's Competition Appeal Tribunal and the law firm representing Lovdahl Gormsen, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, has alerted the social media company of the lawsuit.
Facebook said people utilised its services because it provided value to them and users have substantial control over what information they disclose on Meta's platforms and with whom.
Gormsen said: "In the 17 years since it was created, Facebook became the sole social network in the UK where you could be sure to connect with friends and family in one place. Yet, there was a dark side to Facebook; it abused its market dominance to impose unfair terms and conditions on ordinary Britons, giving it the power to exploit their personal data."
She also stated that Facebook gathered data through its platform and mechanisms such as the Facebook Pixel, enabling it to create an "all-seeing picture" of Internet usage and valuable, deep data profiles of people.
This news comes just a day after the United States House Select Committee, which has been investigating the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot that occurred hours before the Congress certified President Joe Biden’s election victory, has subpoenaed Facebook along with other tech giants like Twitter, Google and Reddit.
Meanwhile, as per reports from this week, in the United States, the company has lost an attempt to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which might force it to sell WhatsApp and Instagram. A federal judge said on 11 January that FTC can move forward with its attempt to compel Facebook, now Meta, to sell its subsidiaries.
The FTC claimed in a press release from August 2021 that the company went on an "anticompetitive shopping spree," illegally acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp to "maintain its monopoly". However, after the judgement, a Meta spokesperson said:
"We're confident the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp transformed them into what they are today. They have been good for competition, and good for the people and businesses that choose to use our products."
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