A British academic wants Facebook to pay more than $3 billion in damages to the social network’s 44 million users in the United Kingdom for alleged violations of the country’s competition laws.
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Competition law expert Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen filed a class-action lawsuit against the US tech giant.
In his legal action filed on Wednesday with the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal in London, Gormsen accused Facebook, which has rebranded itself as a meta platform, of exploiting the personal data of its users, TechCrunch told,
Meta Platforms issued a statement to the post that read: “People access our service for free. They choose our services because we provide value to them and they have meaningful control over what information they share on Meta’s platform and with whom. We’ve invested heavily in building tools that allow them to do this.”
Gormsen is asking British courts to compel the company to pay $3.1 billion in damages to Facebook’s 44 million users — or just over $70 per user.
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According to her website, funding for the trial was provided by Innsworth, one of the largest litigants in the world.
In building up her case, she says that Facebook extorted “unfair prices” from British users of the platform.
While users were forced to give up their personal data and information, what they got in return was “free” access to the platform that let them communicate with friends and post photos.
Facebook then used its users’ personal data to generate billions of dollars in revenue, while receiving no financial compensation to its users.
“In a free and fair market, competition must lead to lower prices and increased quality,” Gormsen said.
“But the bigger a company is in the market, the less choice we have about what else they’re doing. Facebook has exploited its dominance at the expense of its users.”
Gormsen alleges that Facebook took advantage of users’ data between 2015 and 2019. She cited the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the legal filing.
In 2019, Facebook paid a $644,000 fine to British authorities for breaches of a data protection law related to the harvesting of data by consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
Regulators said data on at least 1 million British users and 87 million users worldwide was harvested and used for political purposes.
Gormson is a Senior Research Fellow in Competition Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.
In 2019, he co-authored an academic paper titled “Facebook’s Anticompetitive Lean in Strategies”.
Last year, he helped write a paper titled “The Exploitative and Exclusive Abuse of Facebook in the Two-Way Market for Social Networks and Display Advertising.”