Scope of Facebook’s $90m privacy settlement challenged

The Meta logo is seen in this illustration taken August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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  • Antitrust plaintiffs in separate case question ‘broad’ language
  • Hearing set for October 27

(Reuters) – A group of plaintiffs’ lawyers have raised questions about the scope of Meta Platform Inc’s pending $90 million privacy settlement in California federal court, telling a judge that their claims in a case separate antitrust should be separated and not brushed aside in the agreement.

Lawyers for Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan said in a court filing on Monday that they fear broad language in the privacy settlement could be used to thwart antitrust claims pending before another judge in the Northern United States District Court in California.

Facebook attorneys in both cases did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. A Facebook representative also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Facebook has denied any responsibility in either case.

The privacy settlement would resolve allegations that Facebook tracks users’ web activity even after they log out of the social media website. In the antitrust case, Facebook is accused of exploiting user data to stifle competition. The case also concerns the company’s data collection practices.

The data privacy settlement announced in February “risks providing a benefit to common defendant Meta Platforms Inc that it did not bargain for and to which it is not entitled,” attorneys for the antitrust plaintiffs said in the filing. court on Monday.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Edward Davila to include a sentence in the confidentiality agreement stating that the dispute resolution does not limit the claims alleged in the antitrust litigation.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the antitrust case and the data privacy plaintiffs did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

A hearing on the data privacy settlement is scheduled for October 27.

Lawyers for the antitrust plaintiffs said they were concerned about language in the confidentiality agreement that releases “all claims … whether known or unknown.” Lawyers argued in their filing that the alleged injuries in the two cases are “fundamentally different.”

Data privacy plaintiffs have sought damages for breach of privacy. The antitrust plaintiffs said they were seeking damages “based on the diminished compensation they received for their data due to Facebook’s destruction of competition.”

The case is In re Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, US District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:12-md-02314.

For plaintiffs: David Straite of DiCello Levitt Gutzler; Stephen Grygiel of Grygiel Law; and Jay Barnes of Simmons Hanly Conroy

For Facebook: Michael Rhodes of Cooley

Read more:

Meta’s Facebook will pay $90 million to settle privacy lawsuit over user tracking

Facebook loses bid to deny user data privacy antitrust claims

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Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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