Why did we launch two actions against Meta?

For years Facebook (Meta) collected personal data of its users and their Facebook friends and made this data accessible to third parties. It did not properly inform its users about the processing of their personal data for commercial purposes and Facebook users did not give their permission to do so. In the meantime Facebook (Meta) earned billions. In addition, Facebook users were misled as Meta withheld essential information about its business model.

Meta is also transferring to the US personal data collected on or through Facebook and Instagram. Such transfer is not allowed unless there are sufficient safeguards in place that ensure the data is properly protected, for example against surveillance by US intelligence services. There was and is no such safeguard.

What do we do?

The Data Privacy Stichting, in cooperation with Consumentenbond, initiated two actions against Meta.

(1) Action on the improper use of Facebook user data

On December 30, 2019, the Foundation initiated legal proceedings against Meta Platforms, Inc., Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. and Facebook Netherlands B.V. In these proceedings, the Foundation represents all who lived or resided in the Netherlands and used the Facebook service during the period April 1, 2010 to January 1, 2020.

The topics discussed in the writ of summons are the improper sharing of Facebook users’ personal data with third parties, and the use of personal data, including sensitive data (such as sexual or religious preferences, or health information), for advertising purposes without consent and without adequately informing Facebook users.

On March 15, 2023, the Data Privacy Stichting won on most counts. The Amsterdam District Court ruled in favour of the Foundation on almost all key issues (see ‘News‘ ). With this judgment, the Data Privacy Stichting intends to claim damages for aggrieved consumers.

(2) Action on transferring data outside Europe

The Foundation initiated a separate action against Meta Platforms, Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. for the illegal transfer of personal data outside of Europe without adequate protection against US government surveillance. The wrongful conduct at issue concerns data that Meta collects through both Facebook and Instagram. If Meta will not voluntarily offer appropriate compensation, the Foundation will sue Meta for the benefit of anyone who lived or has lived in the Netherlands and used the Facebook and/or Instagram service in the period from May 25, 2018 onwards.