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Facebook sued for using personal data to sell ads

Written by Thu 24 Nov 2022

The parent company of Facebook, Meta, is being sued by technology and human rights campaigner Tanya O’Carroll after she alleged the social media giant violated general UK data protection regulations by processing her personal data for advertisement purposes.

The lawsuit filed in the High Court says Facebook has breached article 21 (2) of UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that provides people the right to protest against the collection of their personal data for the purposes of marketing.

No damages are being pursued by O’Carroll, with her suit asking for a ‘yes or no’ decision to be made on if she can opt out of being profiled for advertising.

O’Carroll recently told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This case is really about us all being able to connect with social media on our own terms, and without having to essentially accept that we should be subjected to hugely invasive tracking surveillance profiling just to be able to access social media.”

The ramifications of this suit could be significant, with Facebook potentially having to make major changes if O’Carroll is successful in her claim. From anti-trust claims in the UK and Germany to challenges against trans-Atlantic data flows; this lawsuit is one of many Facebook, and other tech giants, are facing across the world.

A Meta spokesperson said: “We know that privacy is important to our users and we take this seriously. That’s why we build tools like privacy check-up and ads preferences, where we explain what data people have shared and show how they can exercise control over the type of ads they see.”

O’Carroll is awaiting Meta’s acknowledgment of the claim and confirmation that the company intends to defend it.

Written by Thu 24 Nov 2022

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