$3.7 billion UK collective lawsuit against Facebook dismissed, for now

Reuters reported that, on Monday, Facebook temporarily fought off a class action lawsuit valued at up to $3.7 billion over claims the company misused its dominating position to profit from the personal data of its users. 

The potential plaintiffs’ attorneys, however, were given up to six months by a London tribunal to “have another go” at proving any purported damages by users. The plaintiff, a legal scholar named Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, claims that Facebook users were not fairly rewarded for the value of the personal information they were required to supply in order to utilize the social media platform.

This month, her attorneys requested certification of the lawsuit under the UK’s collective procedures framework, which is essentially equal to the class action process in the US, from the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

However, the Tribunal decided on Monday that in order for the case to proceed, Lovdahl Gormsen’s technique of determining any losses incurred by Facebook users required “root-and-branch re-evaluation.”

But, Lovdahl Gormsen’s attorneys were given six months to “file additional evidence setting out a new and better blueprint leading to an effective trial” by Judge Marcus Smith.

“The Tribunal proposes to stay the CPO Application for a period of six months to enable the (proposed class representative) to file additional evidence setting out a new and better blueprint for the effective trial of the proceedings,” the tribunal wrote in its decision. 

“Absent a new and better blueprint, the Tribunal will lift the stay and reject the CPO Application,” it read. “If a new and better blueprint is produced, the Tribunal will give appropriate directions for the determination of the renewed application.”

A representative for Meta told Reuters that the firm welcomed the U.K. tribunal’s ruling and reiterated an earlier claim that the complaint is “completely without merit.”

Meta, along with Twitter and Google, will also be subject to stricter online content rules in Europe as the latest monthly user numbers are above the threshold set by EU officials, Reuters reported last week.

According to Meta, in the second half of last year, there were an average of 250 million Instagram users and 255 million monthly active Facebook users in Europe.

Written by Maya Robertson


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