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UK competition disputes against Meta will advance to class certification hearing – londonbusinessblog.com

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New competition disputes filed in the UK against Facebook/Meta – aiming to get billions in damages from the social media giant through an opt-out class action lawsuit – will move to a certification hearing in late January 2023, after Meta did. not contest the choice of forum to hear the claim.

The case was filed in January with the Competition Appeal Tribunal – which will decide whether the claim should be certified as a class action and proceed to a full trial.

Kate Vernon of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan UK, LLP, the law firm representing the litigant, said in a statement: “Earlier this year, Facebook/Meta decided not to extend the jurisdiction of the Tribunal over Meta Inc (Facebook’s US parent company) to and Meta Ireland (Facebook’s Irish subsidiary), meaning the case can now be pursued in earnest against all three proposed defendants, which was an important step for the claim as it would allow the claim to move forward more quickly. to the first substantive hearing. We are very pleased that the case is progressing and we have the certification hearing scheduled for the end of January 2023.”

Classic lawsuits claiming collective damages for privacy breaches have had an uphill battle in the UK – with a hammer blow dealt to the category last November when Google triumphed in a Supreme Court appeal over long-running lawsuits involving a Safari -privacy temporary fix after the court rejected the litigants’ claim for compensation for a uniform loss of control, ruling that loss/damage must be proved on an individual basis to claim damages – so it will be interesting to see if a competition damage complaint is allowed to proceed as a class action.

dr. Lovdahl Gormsen, an international competition law expert who is filing the claim and acting as the proposed group representative, alleges that Facebook has imposed unfair terms, prices and/or other trading conditions on UK Facebook users, including by requiring users to personal data as a condition of access to Facebook’s social network, and not sharing with users the profits it makes from such data. Loss of privacy is therefore also the basis of the competition law procedure.

On the instructions of the Tribunal, legal notice about the claim has been published providing information to anyone in the proposed class (all people living in the UK between 11 February 2016 and 31 December 2019 who have used Facebook at least once), or any third party with a legitimate interest in the claim, to oral and/or written submissions to the Tribunal.

The notice also contains information for ano one interested in the claim to object to Dr. Lovdahl Gormsen as group representative, or wants to object to the claim itself.

In a statement, Dr. Lovdahl Gormsen: “I am delighted that we have received the dates for the certification hearing. This will be heard at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London between 30 January and 1 February 2023. It will decide whether the claim can proceed as a class action and whether I should be authorized as the proposed class representative.”

“Involvement with the Proposed Group and others with an interest in the claim is very important to me. Any Proposed Class Member, or any third party with a legitimate interest in the proposed claim (who is not a member of the Proposed Class), may request permission from the Tribunal to make oral and/or written submissions during the certification hearing. Such request must be made in writing, stating reasons, and received by the Tribunal before October 10, 2022 at 4 p.m.,” she added.

“Likewise, if you wish to object to the application for a class action order and/or my authorization as the proposed class representative, you must write to the Tribunal within the same time limit stating your reasons for objecting.”

More details about the lawsuit can be found at: facebookclaim.co.uk.

Meta was contacted for comment.

An intertwining of competition law and privacy issues is also causing a headache for Meta in Germany, where the antitrust regulator has spent years working on a “exploitative abuse” case against the tech giant over the combination of user data across different services – thus dubbed user ‘super profiles’. .

If it prevails, the groundbreaking procedure could lead to a structural separation of Meta’s business empire, imposed by Germany, without the need for its business to break up. Legal questions related to the German FCO’s case were referred to the European Supreme Court last year – and a ruling is expected soon. So that’s another case to keep an eye on.

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