A multi-billion pound class action against Meta (Facebook) for breach of competition law will have a certification hearing in London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in January 2023.
The case, put together by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, argues that Facebook/Meta abused its dominant market position by imposing unfair trading terms and prices on users, and unfairly required users to hand over their personal data as a condition of access to the Facebook social network.
The action also alleges that the social media giant has failed to share with its users the profits it makes from such data.
Quinn is acting for competition law academic Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, who filed the case on 11 February.
As an opt-out class action, the proposed class applies to all people domiciled in the U.K. between February 2016 and December 2019 who used Facebook at least once.
Certification hearings for the action will take place between January 30 and February 1, 2023. Anyone wishing to be heard as to whether the case should proceed has until 10 October to write to the CAT.
The hearings will determine whether the claim can go ahead as a collective action, and whether Dr Gormsen should be authorised as the ‘Proposed Class Representative’.
In a legal notice published at the direction of the tribunal, it said the proposed claim seeks compensation currently estimated to be approximately £2.2 billion (excluding interest).
The notice added: “This money is claimed to compensate Proposed Class Members for loss and damage they suffered as a result of Facebook’s unlawful conduct.”
The lead lawyer from Quinn Emanuel is London-based partner Kate Vernon, who said in a statement: “Earlier this year Facebook/Meta decided not to challenge the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over Meta Inc (Facebook’s US parent company) and Meta Ireland (Facebook’s Irish subsidiary), meaning that the case can now progress against all three proposed defendants in earnest.”