UK competition litigation against Meta to proceed to class certification hearing – TechCrunch

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New competition litigation filed in the UK against Facebook/Meta — seeking to extract billions in losses from the social media giant via the opt-out class action lawsuit route — will proceed to a certification hearing in late January 2023, after Meta does not challenge the forum’s choice of hearing claims. .

The case was re-filed in January, with the Court of Competition Appeals – which will decide whether the claim should be certified as a collective action and proceed to a full trial.

Commenting in a statement, Kate Vernon of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan UK, LLP, the law firm acting for the plaintiffs, said: “Earlier this year Facebook/Meta decided not to challenge the Court’s jurisdiction over Meta Inc (Facebook’s parent company in the US) and Meta Ireland (Facebook’s Irish subsidiary), which means that the case can now proceed against the three defendants brought in earnest. This is an important step for claims – as it allows claims to advance more quickly to the first substantive hearing. We are very pleased that the case is progressing and we have a certification hearing, scheduled for late January 2023.”

The class-action-style lawsuit that has sought collective damages for privacy infringement has faced an uphill battle in the UK – with the hammer blow dealt the category last November when Google won in a Supreme Court appeal against long-term litigation related to Safari’s privacy setting solution after the court rejected the plaintiffs’ demands for compensation. over uniform loss of control, argues that loss/damage must be proven individually to claim compensation — so it will be interesting to see if a competition damage complaint is allowed to proceed as a class action.

International competition law expert Dr Lovdahl Gormsen, who filed the claim and acted as the proposed class representative, argued in it that Facebook had imposed unfair terms, prices and/or terms of trade on Facebook users in the UK — including by requiring users to submit their personal data as a condition of access to the social network Facebook, and failing to share with users the benefits derived from such data. So loss of privacy also underlies competitive litigation.

By order of the Court, a legal notice of claim has been issued provide information to anyone in the proposed class (all persons domiciled in the UK between 11 February 2016 to 31 December 2019 who used Facebook at least once), or any third party who has a legitimate interest in the claim, to make verbal and/or written submission to the Court.

The notice also provides information foranyone with an interest in the claim wishes to disprove Dr Lovdahl Gormsen acting as a class representative, or refute the claim itself.

Commenting in a statement, Dr Lovdahl Gormsen said: “I am pleased that we have been given a date for the certification hearing. This will be heard at the Court of Appeals Competition in London between 30 January and 1 February 2023. It will decide whether the claim can proceed as a collective action, and whether I should be authorized as a Proposed Class Representative.”

“Engagement with the Proposed Class, and other people with an interest in the claim, is very important to me. Any Member of the Proposed Class, or any third party with a legitimate interest in the claim being made (which is not a member of the Proposed Class), may apply to the Court for permission to make oral and/or written submissions at the certification hearing. The application must be made in writing, supported by reasons, and received by the Court by 4pm on October 10, 2022,” he added.

“Similarly, if you wish to object to the Collective Process Warrant application and/or my authorization as Proposed Class Representative, you must write a letter to the Court stating your reasons for objecting by the same deadline.”

More details on litigation can be found at facebookclaim.co.uk.

Meta was contacted for comment.

The tangle of competition law and privacy concerns has also caused headaches for Meta in Germany where competition regulators have spent years cracking down on “exploitative abuse” cases against the tech giant, related to the merging of user data across various services — to create so-called ‘super profiles’. ‘ user.

If applicable, the pilot procedure could see the structural separation of Meta’s business empire imposed by Germany without needing to order its business to be dissolved. Legal questions relating to Germany’s FCO case were referred to Europe’s top court last year – and a decision is expected soon. So that’s another case to watch out for.

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