The latest opt-out collective action is to target Meta – formerly Facebook – on behalf of around 44m Facebook users, litigation law firm Quinn Emmanuel announced today.
It will seek a minimum of £2.3bn from the tech giant for allegedly abusing its dominant market position by imposing unfair trading terms and prices on users.
The claim is being brought by proposed class representative Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a senior research fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and the director of the Competition Law Forum.
She alleges that Facebook made billions of pounds from UK consumers by only permitting access to its network in exchange for control of its users’ extensive personal data. By using deep data profiles of its users, the company generated excessive profits, she says.
Quinn Emanuel partner Kate Vernon, its head of competition litigation, explained: “The price extracted is unfairly high given the commercial value of the user data collected but is presented by Facebook on a ‘take it or leave it basis’ with zero monetary compensation for users.
“This is a clear abuse of its dominant position in the social network market and UK consumers must be compensated for this egregious behaviour.”
UK users of Facebook between October 2015 and November 2019 now living in the UK will be members of the group until they explicitly opt out.
The US/UK firm has sent a letter before action to Facebook today ahead of filing the claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Dr Lovdahl Gormsen is also advised by Ronit Kreisberger QC and Nikolaus Grubeck of Monckton Chambers and Greg Adey of One Essex Court. The claim is being funded by Innsworth Litigation Funding.
Quinn Emmanuel is also behind the largest collective action to date, the £15bn ‘interchange fees’ claim against Mastercard, brought on behalf of 46m people. Last year it became the first collective action to be certified, following a lengthy legal battle that reached the Supreme Court.