Facebook gains court backing in document row with EU regulators

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Facebook has won backing from Europe’s second-highest court at a row with European Union antitrust regulators on exactly what the American company says are surplus requirements for information after a judge set special conditions for access to its documents.

The US social networking group contested the European Commission at the Luxembourg-based General Court in July over its requirements for access to documents in two investigations linked to its trove of information and online marketplace.

Facebook alleged that EU antitrust authorities were seeking information beyond that which was needed, including highly personal details.

The General Court stated Facebook will transmit requested documents related to its business activities to the European Commission.

“Those documents shall then be placed in a virtual data room which shall be accessible to as limited a number as possible of members of the team responsible for the investigation, in the presence (virtual or physical) of an equivalent number of Facebook Ireland’s lawyers,” Court President Marc van der Woude explained.

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Facebook, which said it has provided over a million records to EU antitrust enforcers, welcomed the court judgment.

In their trawl of Facebook records, EU regulators focused on 2,500 search terms that include “big question”, “shut down” and “not good for us”, and which could also be seen in workers’ health information or perhaps job applications, a person familiar with the issue has told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters.

Failure to comply with the regulators ask for documents may lead to daily penalties of 8 million euros (approximately $9.5 million).

The instances are T-451/20 R, T-452/20 R.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jon Boyle and Jane Merriman.

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