Meta faces £2.3bn UK class-action over 'abusing dominance'

Meta could be hit with £2.3 billion in damages over claims it abused its market dominance.

Today Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, director of the Competition Law Forum at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, announced that she is launching a major class-action against the tech giant, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The move comes after an antitrust lawsuit was re-launched by the US Federal Trade Commission this week. The complaint alleges that the company has a monopoly power in the market for social media networks.

Gormsen claims that Meta - formerly Facebook - used its dominance in the UK to “impose unfair terms and conditions on ordinary Britons” which she alleges gave the company “power to exploit their personal data”.

She said that as many as 44 million UK Facebook users could have been impacted by this and would take a share of the damages, with the claim period covering October 2015 to December 2019.

The international competition law expert, who is bringing the case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, alleges that by exploiting user data – both within the Facebook platform and off-platform through mechanisms like Facebook Pixel – the company was able to “build very detailed pictures of users’ internet usage” which helped it generate “excessive profits”.

Gormsen said that Facebook abused its market dominance to strike an "unfair bargain with users" by imposing terms and conditions on a "take or leave basis" to access its social network in exchange for personal data with "no monetary recompense".

“People access our service for free," said a Meta spokesperson. "They choose our services because we deliver value for them and they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who with. We have invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do so.”

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