Facebook’s parent company Meta has been sued in the UK by a human rights campaigner, who claims the firm continues to collect her personal data for targeted advertisements despite her objection.
The lawsuit against Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, launched by Tanya O’Carroll, seeks to challenge the social media giant’s marketing practices that have long been the focus of concerns raised by critics of the Big Tech and digital rights activists. It alleges Meta has breached UK data laws by failing to respect O’Carroll’s right to demand Facebook stop collecting her personal data and selling it to the advertisers for targeted marketing.
“I am taking Meta to court asserting my legal Right to Object to their harmful model of surveillance advertising,” O’Carroll tweeted Monday. “People have the right to access social media without being subjected to vast surveillance and profiling.”
🚨 NEWS. I am taking @Meta to court asserting my legal Right to Object to their harmful model of surveillance advertising. People have the right to access social media without being subjected to vast surveillance & profiling: https://t.co/w0Jx8eShT7
— Tanya O´Carroll (@TanyaOCarroll) November 21, 2022
O’Carroll, who objected to “being surveilled and profiled”, said the case shows Meta is violating the law by denying her objection request. Everyone has the right to object to the use of their personal data for direct marketing, but the company is straining to concoct legal arguments as to why this should not apply to them, she added.
“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,” O’Carroll said on BBC Radio 4’s programme, Today.
The case threatens the lucrative business model of Meta and has captured the attention of a number of critics and legal experts. O’Carroll, who is not seeking damages but a ruling on whether she can opt out of the processing of her personal details for Facebook’s “surveillance advertising”, says the case could set a precedent for a millions of UK and EU users “who have been forced to accept invasive surveillance and profiling to use digital platforms”.
“With this case, I’m really using this right that’s long been there on the law books, but has been up until now not been exercised, which is to simply say ‘I object’, and if we are successful in that then everybody will have that right.”
“We know that privacy is important to our users and we take this seriously,” a Meta spokesperson said. “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.”
Meta has yet to file its response in the case.