In the midst of an expansion plan, the creator of the social network Facebook is facing a year complicated by two lawsuits that threaten to cut down his empire
When Mark Zuckerberg and its board of directors decided to change the name of their company (Facebook) a Meta, He did it with the aim of “turning the page”, concentrating on the development of new verticals related to the metaverse and with the idea of leaving behind the accusations about privacy that haunted the company throughout the year.
However, far from shaping up to be a quiet year, the 2022, begins with two conflicts that can put in check the empire built by Zuckerberg.
The first battle he faces is the United States and it could force him to get rid of two of his jewels: Instagram and WhatsApp.
This week, a court of D.C. He admitted that he is processing an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission of the United States against Facebook.
The US state body denounces that Meta has an illegal monopoly in social network services by having acquired two direct rivals such as Instagram and WhatsApp and increasingly integrate some platforms with others.
If it is shown that the company exercises a position monopoly in the market, American justice could force her to get rid of two of his most profitable businesses, especially Instagram.
Mark Zuckerberg in trouble
Another controversy is in England, in which faces a class action lawsuit for more than 3.2 billion dollars in Great Britain.
The accusations are about abusing its market dominance, by exploiting the personal information of 44 million users.
Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a senior adviser to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog and a competition law scholar, said she would bring the case on behalf of people in Britain who had used Facebook between 2015 and 2019.
The claim, which will be heard by the Court of Competition Appeals of London, alleges that Facebook it made billions of dollars by imposing unfair terms and conditions that required consumers to hand over valuable personal data to access the network.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm representing Lovdahl Gormsen, notified Facebook of the claim.
Facebook said people used its services because it provided them with value and “they have significant control over what information they share on Meta platforms and with whom.”
The case comes days after Facebook lost an attempt to nullify an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one of the government’s greatest challenges. EE. UU. against a technology company in decades, as Washington attempts to address Big Tech’s extensive market power. Read More
“In the 17 years since it was created, Facebook became the only social network in the UK where you could be sure to connect with friends and family in one place,” Lovdahl Gornsen told Reuters.
Lovdahl Gormsen alleges that Facebook collected data within its platform and through mechanisms such as the Facebook Pixel, which allowed it to build an “all-seeing picture” of Internet usage and build valuable and deep data profiles of users.
Opt-out class actions, like the one in Lovdahl Gormsen, automatically bind a defined group to a lawsuit unless individuals opt out.
Frances Haugen, the employee detailing the internal Facebook
The complaint of the former employee
Late last year, computer scientist Frances Haugen and a former Facebook employee had denounced the computer giant.
“It’s substantially worse than anything I’ve seen before on other platforms,” says Haugen, who had previously worked at companies like Pinterest.
This statement is part of an internal Facebook investigation conducted by The Wall Street Journal in which he showed how the company knows perfectly well that its social networks are toxic for teenage women, something that Facebook publicly denies.
Now the complainant Facebook says the company encourages “content that angers, polarizes and divisive“.
But she is not the first to talk about this. The CEO of Apple, Tim Cooke, commented that these networks prioritize “conspiracy theories and incitement to violence” because they are topics that involve more people in those conversations.
In this way, the companies that manage these social platforms they have the opportunity to collect more personal information from citizens and thus have more data to sell.
Haugen said that what he saw in Facebook it was the conflicts of interest between “what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook”. And he assured that the company always chose to optimize its own interests, which is to earn more money.
On the other hand, he stated that internal studies show that the company “is lying to the public about significant progress against hate, violence and disinformation.” One of the studies Facebook carried out this year and whose information is disclosed by Haugen, concludes that it is estimated that the company has managed to stop hate on platforms only between 3 and 5% of what there is in total.
“The version of Facebook that exists today can fragment our societies and cause ethnic violence around the world,” says Huagen.
And he recalled the ethnic cleansing that took place in Myanmar in 2018, when the military used Facebook to present their genocide and encourage hate speech towards the Rohingya ethnic minority.
“Facebook makes more money when more content is consumed. People engage more with things that provoke an emotional reaction. And the more anger they are exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume,” he added.