A British academic wants Facebook to pay more than $3 billion in damages to the social network’s 44 million users in the UK for allegedly violating the country’s competition laws.
Dr. Lisa Lovedal-Joersen, an expert in competition law, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the US tech giant.
In her lawsuit filed on Wednesday with the UK Competition Court of Appeal in London, Gormsen accused Facebook, which has rebranded itself as Meta Platforms, of exploiting the personal data of its users, TechCrunch reported.
Meta Platforms issued a statement to the newspaper that said, “People access our service for free. They choose our services because we provide value to them and have effective control over the information they share on the Meta platforms and with whom. We have invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do just that.”
Gormsen is asking British courts to force the company to pay $3.1 billion in damages to Facebook’s 44 million users – or just over $70 per user.
According to its website, the lawsuit was funded by Insworth, one of the world’s largest litigation funders.
In building its case, it says Facebook extracted an “unfair price” from British users of the platform.
While users were forced to give up their personal data and information, all they received in return was “free” access to the platform that allows them to connect with friends and post photos.
Then Facebook used the personal data of its users to generate billions of dollars in revenue while its users received no financial compensation.
“In a free and fair market, competition should lower prices and increase quality,” Gormsen said.
“But the bigger the company is in the market, the fewer options we have, no matter what they do. Facebook has exploited its dominance at the expense of its users.”
Gormsen claims that Facebook exploited users’ data between 2015 and 2019. She cited the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the legal file.
In 2019, Facebook paid British authorities a fine of $644,000 for a data protection breach relating to data collection by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy.
Regulators said data from at least 1 million British users – and 87 million users worldwide – had been 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, she co-authored an academic paper titled “Facebook’s Anticompetitive Strategies”.
Last year, I helped write a paper titled “Facebook Exploitative and Exclusionary Abuses in the Two-Faced Market of Social Networking and Display Advertising.”