A campaign group, Facebook You Owe Us, is to launch a representative action against Facebook for the illegal use of one million users’ data in the England and Wales following Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In October 2018 the ICO fined Facebook £500,000 for serious breaches of data protection law. The ICO’s investigation found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by allowing application developers access to their information without sufficiently clear and informed consent, and allowing access even if users had not downloaded the app, but were simply ‘friends’ with people who had.

Facebook apologised and allowed users to check which “banned apps” have accessed their data. It is possible to check if data was impacted here.

The launch of Facebook You Owe Us follows Google You Owe Us’ victory in the Court of Appeal in Lloyd v Google [2019] EWCA Civ 1599 (see our post here)  Google has been granted permission to appeal and the appeal is now listed to be heard before the Supreme Court on 28 and 29 April 2021.

There is a Facebook You Owe Us website which provides further information about the legal action.

The claim is led by group litigation firm Milberg London and supported by Richard Lloyd who is the representative claimant in the Google You Owe Us group legal action.

The representative  claimant is the former CEO of the Fourth Group, Alvin Carpio.  In a press release by the Facebook You Owe Us group he was quoted as saying:

“When we use Facebook, we expect that our personal data is being used responsibly, transparently, and legally. We rightly expect that, when Facebook friends use apps like thisisyourdigitallife, Facebook does not leave the door open for third parties to abuse our data. Our friends’ consent is not our consent.  

By failing to protect our personal information from abuse, we believe that Facebook broke the law. Paying less than 0.01% of your annual revenue in fines – pocket change to Facebook – is clearly a punishment that does not fit the crime.  

Three years on, almost nothing has been done to hold Facebook to account. Apologising for breaking the law is simply not enough. Facebook, you owe us honesty, responsibility and redress. We will fight to hold Facebook to account.”