Facebook sues EU antitrust regulator for excessive data requests

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Facebook is suing European Union antitrust regulators for requesting information beyond what’s necessary, including highly personal details, because of their ongoing investigations into the company’s data and marketplace, the social media giant has said.

KEY POINTS:

  • Facebook is suing the European Commission for seeking information beyond what it deems necessary for the EU competition enforcers investigation
  • The company has been under ever increasing scrutiny from the EU

Facebook was under EU competition enforcers’ scrutiny since last year, with one investigation focused on its trove of data and the other on its online marketplace launched in 2016 and used by 800 million Facebook users in 70 countries to buy and sell items.

“The incredibly wide nature of this Commission’s requests implies we’d be asked to turn over predominantly irrelevant documents that do not have anything to do with the Commission’s investigations, including highly sensitive personal information such as employees’ medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees,” Facebook general counsellor Tim Lamb said in a declaration.

“We think such requests should be reviewed by the EU Courts.”

The Commission said it could defend its case in court.

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EU regulators comb through documents looking for about 2,500 search phrases which include “big question”, “shut down” and “not good for us”, said a person familiar with the matter.

The person said such research terms could be discovered in employees’ health info, performance analysis and maybe even job applications to the business which are not pertinent to the European Union investigations.

In addition to the two lawsuits against the Commission, Facebook is also looking for interim measures in the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest, to stop such data requests until judges rule, according to a court filing.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Additional reporting by Neha Malara in Bangaluru. Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Jane Merriman.

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