Multi-billion pound Facebook data-sharing lawsuit given green light in the UK

The Meta logo on a smartphone in front of the Facebook logo a little bit blurred in the background
(Image credit: Shutterstock / rafapress)

A lawsuit being brought against Facebook owner Meta on behalf of 45 million people has been given the green light in the UK.

The suit, brought forward by Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, claims that Facebook created conditions of access that require significant access to data on non-Facebook platforms such as Instagram.

Meta has dismissed this claim and a previous claim refused in 2023 as “entirely without merit and we will vigorously defend against them."

Data-hungry Facebook always wants one more byte…

The claim proposes that Facebook abused its market dominance within the social media industry to make access to the platform a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer, as a condition of access is giving Facebook permission to use “Off-Facebook” data.

As a result of this, the claim states that Facebook “has caused its UK users to suffer loss and damage, in particular because they have not been adequately compensated for the commercial value of their data collected and monetised by Facebook concerning their activities off Facebook’s social media site.”

The claim will be heard at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, a specialist body focusing on competition and economic regulation, and is seeking damages in the range of between $2.6 - 3.9 (£2.07 - 3.1) billion.

If the claim succeeds, the compensation would be available to those who have had a Facebook account between February 2016 and October 2023. Facebook-owner Meta previously paid out $725 (£583) million in a US privacy case in 2023.

More from TechRadar Pro

Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism he worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but he also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motives and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks.

He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. His masters dissertation, titled 'Arms sales as a foreign policy tool,' argues that the export of weapon systems has been an integral part of the diplomatic toolkit used by the US, Russia and China since 1945. Benedict has also written about NATO's role in the era of hybrid warfare, the influence of interest groups on US foreign policy, and how reputational insecurity can contribute to the misuse of intelligence.

Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.