Facebook seeks to block $3.7 billion UK mass action over market dominance

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Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of the Facebook group, is facing a mass action brought on behalf of around 45 million Facebook users in Britain.

Legal academic Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, who is bringing the case, said that Facebook users were not properly compensated for the value of the personal data they had to provide to use the platform.

Its lawyers said that users should get compensation for the economic value they would have received if Facebook was not in a dominant position in the social network market.

But Meta said that the case was “totally without merit” and should not be allowed to continue. Its lawyers said the damages claimed ignore the “economic value” Facebook provides.

Lovdahl Gormsen’s lawyers on Monday asked the Competition Appeal Tribunal to certify the case under the UK collective proceedings regime – which is roughly equivalent to the regime of ‘ class action in the United States.

A decision to certify collective proceedings depends on whether the tribunal decides that the individual cases can be dealt with together, rather than on their merits.

Ronit Kreisberger, representing Lovdahl Gormsen, told the tribunal that “Meta’s data practices violate the prohibition of abusive behavior by dominant firms”.

“There is undoubtedly a case for Meta to answer in the process,” claimed Kreisberger.

But lawyers representing Meta said the lawsuit wrongly assumes that any “extra profit” it might make is equivalent to financial losses suffered by individual Facebook users.

This approach “takes no account of the significant economic value of the service provided by Facebook”, Marie Demetriou said in court documents.

She said Lovdahl Gormsen’s estimate of the total loss of potential claimants – 3 billion pounds, including interest – is “wildly inflated to say the least”.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

By Sam Tobin

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