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CAT certifies data abuse claim against Meta


On 15 February 2024, the CAT certified a collective proceedings claim in which the class representative contends that Meta abused its dominant position in a UK social media market by reference to so-called “Off-Facebook Data”, that is data concerning Facebook users that is gathered on third party websites and applications and other non-Facebook Meta services (e.g., Instagram).  The class representative contends that the manner in which Off-Facebook Data is collected involves the imposition of an unfair term and/or unfair price, and seeks damages for UK users of up to £3.1 billion (plus interest) for these abuses.

The CAT initially refused to certify the case: see the CAT’s judgment [2023] CAT 10, finding inter alia that “there is no blueprint to trial, and the PCR has unequivocally failed the Pro-Sys test.” 

Following this judgment, the class representative substantially revised her case “such that very little (if anything) of the original methodology remains.” (§5)  The CAT found that the revised claim was both arguable and triable (§26), and that the loss and damage pleaded fell clearly within compensatory damages principles (§30).

The CAT judgment is of interest concerning:

  • The concept of a data abuse as an unfair term and/or price.
  • The scope of compensatory damages.
  • Funding arrangements in collective proceedings claims.

A copy of the judgment is here.

Robert O’Donoghue KC and Sarah O’Keeffe acted for the class representative in the revised claim.

Tony Singla KC appeared for Meta at the hearing concerning the revised claim in January 2024

Marie Demetriou KC and David Bailey acted for Meta in the original hearing in January 2023.