Facebook “broke the law” by “improperly using” personal data belonging to the citizens of The Netherlands between 2010 and 2020. This was said during the hearing of a class action lawsuit in a Dutch court against Facebook Ireland, the social media giant’s European subsidiary.
In a summary, the ruling of the Amsterdam court said that “personal information was processed for the purposes of advertising when in this case that is not allowed”.
It continued: "Personal information was given to third parties without Facebook users being informed and without there being a legal basis to do so."
Appealing the decision
According to reports, Meta’s spokesperson said the company was “pleased” with some parts of the decision, but will appeal others, arguing that some of the claims made in the courtroom were more than a decade old.
"We know that privacy is important to our Dutch users and we want them to have control over how their data is used," said the spokesperson.
Data Privacy Stichting, which represents the plaintiffs, said the group now hopes to negotiate a settlement with Facebook.
It's "a pretty big decision and we're obviously very glad," spokesperson Gerard Spierenburg said. "We think this is a very strong signal not only to Facebook but to all companies that are unrightfully using their users' data."
According to the spokesperson, some 190,000 Dutch people signed up for the initiative to seek damages against Facebook for mishandling their data, but any of the 10 million citizens who used the social media platform in that decade can join if the case reaches the damages phase, he concluded.
This is not the first time Facebook’s been found guilty of mishandling user data. Back in 2020, it reached an agreement to pay $550 million in a class-action lawsuit that alleged misuse of biometric data.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.