A human rights activist is suing the owner of Facebook in the High Court, claiming that the company is not respecting her right to object to the collection of her personal data.
Tanya O’Carroll has taken legal action against Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, alleging she breached UK data laws by failing to uphold her right to demand that Facebook stop collecting and processing her data. Facebook generates revenue by creating profiles of users and matching them with advertisers who direct ads to people targeting their specific interests and backgrounds.
O’Carroll told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This case is really about the ability for all of us to connect to social media on our own terms, and without having to essentially accept that we should be subject to profiling extremely invasive tracking surveillance just to be able to access social media.
O’Carroll, a senior researcher at Foxglove, a UK legal campaign group that focuses on liability in the tech industry, claims that Facebook breached Article 21(2) of the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). ), which gives individuals the right to object to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes. O’Carroll said a successful case could set a precedent for millions of Facebook, social media and search engine users.
“With this case, I’m really using that right that’s been there for a long time in the law books, but so far hasn’t been exercised, which is just to say ‘I object’, and if we achieve, then everyone will have that right,” she told the BBC.
O’Carroll has filed a complaint with the High Court and is awaiting Meta’s acknowledgment of the complaint and confirmation that the company intends to defend it, followed by a court hearing and judgment. O’Carroll is not asking for damages, but a yes/no decision on whether she can opt out of being profiled for advertising.
A Meta spokesperson said, “We know privacy is important to our users and we take it seriously. That’s why we create tools like Privacy Checkup and Ad Preferences, where we explain what data people have shared and show how they can exercise control over the type of ads they see.