Read the Facebook You Owe Us FAQs below.
1. What is our claim about and what happened?
You may have heard about a scandal involving an app called thisisyourdigitallife operating on Facebook between 2013 and 2015 which harvested the data of Facebook users. This was also referred to as the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the media.
We believe that Facebook allowed our data to be collected, without our permission, and without properly informing us, in 2013 and 2014.
Facebook did this by allowing apps to harvest the data of the app user’s friends, without their friends’ permission or even knowledge.
We believe that any personal data Facebook allowed to be passed to these apps was obtained unlawfully and without the required permissions. Your friends’ consent is not your consent.
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, this breach affected nearly one million people across England and Wales. We are taking Facebook to court for failing to protect the data of those affected (see question 3 for further details on class requirements).
2. Was I affected?
You can check if you were affected using the following link.
3. Am I a member of the class?
To find out if you are a member of the class, you first need to check if you were affected by this data breach associated with the thisisyourdigitallife app.
If this link takes you to a page which states the thisisyourdigitallife app may have misused your data and you also meet the criteria below, you are likely to fall within the class.
If the thisisyourdigitallife app misused your data, you will receive a message that looks like the below.
Now that you know your data may have been taken please check that you meet the following criteria:
4. I qualify as a class member – what do I have to do?
If you meet the above criteria, you are likely to be in the class. You do not need to do anything at this stage. The case is being led by the lawyers, Milberg London and the representative claimant Alvin Carpio (see ‘About Us’ for further information on Milberg London and Alvin).
You are automatically included in the class if you meet the eligibility criteria (see question 3).
If the case is successful, you will be asked to provide us with proof that you qualify to receive money under the claim. This will be determined by the court at a later stage.
For now, we want to raise awareness of the value of your personal data. Facebook cannot harvest data without permission. We encourage you to share the claim on social media, tell your friends and family, and help us hold Facebook to account.
5.Who is Alvin Carpio?
Alvin is the class representative for our case and is taking Facebook to court on behalf of all those affected by the data breach in England and Wales. The law firm Milberg London will be providing legal support to Alvin.
He is the Founder of The Fourth Group, an independent global community working to create a new politics in the digital age. For the past decade, he has campaigned on issues of social justice, human rights, and public policy, and was recognised on the Forbes ’30 under 30’ list in 2017.
Alvin was personally affected by Facebook’s data breach, and wants to hold them to account. To this end, he started a petition requesting that Mark Zuckerberg appear before the UK Parliament and that Facebook investigate and publicly list all violations of its users’ data by third parties. After receiving over 177,000 signatures, Alvin delivered the petition to Facebook HQ in London.
6. Why are we taking Facebook to court?
When we use Facebook, we expect our data to be secure. In particular and at the time of the alleged breach, Facebook was required to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. We believe that Facebook in this period failed to comply with those obligations.
By Facebook’s own estimation, a possible 87 million people worldwide were affected by the breach that related to the thisisyourdigitallife app, nearly one million of whom are in England and Wales.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has publicly stated that this data breach was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”.
We want to show that personal data has real value, and that Facebook cannot take it illegally without giving compensation.
7. How did the apps take your data?
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the thisisyourdigitallife app profiled users and obtained the data of their friends. While the user may have given their consent for their information to be processed, Facebook should not have allowed the app to obtain the data of the app users’ friends. We believe that, in failing to protect users’ friends data, Facebook broke the law.
8. What data may have been taken?
The publicly available data on your Facebook profile may have been taken. This data may have included your public profile, page likes, data of birth, direct messages and current city – depending on what you allowed to be seen by the public. This is highly personal data, that you should be in control of, not via your friend.
9. Who received the data?
The personal data was transferred via the quiz apps to Global Science Research Ltd or the Strategic Communications Laboratories group of companies.
10. What law was broken?
We are claiming that Facebook acted in breach of its duties under the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA 1998”), namely the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth data protection principles. Please see here for more detail.
11. Does this claim include people who live outside England and Wales?
We are bringing our claim against Facebook in the English and Welsh courts. Our claim is therefore limited to individuals within the jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.
Due to the differing legal systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this particular claim does not cover affected users in these nations.
12. I am already involved in a legal action against Facebook, does this mean I am not a class member?
We are aware of the following threatened legal actions against Facebook:
If you are involved in either of these legal actions or any other claim against Facebook, and that claim has been issued with the Court, unfortunately you do not qualify as a class member.
Until a claim is issued on behalf of the other class actions, you are eligible as a class member in our representative action.
13. What stage is the case at now?
Alvin Carpio will be filing the claim against Facebook before the end of the year in the English and Welsh courts.
The claim will be brought on behalf of all qualifying class members. If you were affected but do not wish to be part of the claim, then please click here.
We are now working on building our case on behalf of those affected by the breach.
When the case goes to court, Alvin Carpio will act as the representative. You can find out more about him here.
14. How much money will I receive, and how?
If our claim is successful, the amount Facebook owes will be assessed by the Court. This is because your personal data has a monetary value. In addition to financial motivations, this case will make sure Facebook respects and protects the data you entrust it with.
We will make sure to keep you updated of our case progress through this website, our social media pages and through our newsletter. You can sign up to receive case updates by clicking the ‘Stay Updated’ button in the top right of the homepage on this website.
15. What will it cost me?
The claim is entirely funded by litigation funder. There will be no cost to you for being a member of our action.
This means that the claimants bear none of the costs of bringing the claim. In England and Wales, the loser of a case has to pay a proportion of the other side’s legal costs. This is covered by insurance, called After the Event Insurance or ATE, to cover this possibility so that the insurer pays the winning side’s costs.
The ‘loser pays’ rule coupled with the burden of their own legal costs, can mean bringing a claim can be prohibitively expensive for an individual potential claimant, particularly when up against a larger, well-funded defendant, such as Facebook. This kind of funding allows less well-resourced claimants to level the playing field. It is common in representative actions because it provides a route for members of a class to fund their claim and to participate together, thereby giving them access to justice and legal expertise.
In this action against Facebook, one or more of the litigation funders will fund all of the costs of the claim and arrange ATE Insurance. Milberg London are also acting on a contingent or no win/no fee basis. The litigation funders and Milberg London will take a fee from the money awarded if we are successful and, after that fee has been paid, the damages awarded by the court will be distributed to those who are covered by the claim.
Milberg London is affiliated with the US firm Milberg Phillips Grossman LLP (“Milberg”). Since Milberg’s founding more than five decades ago, the firm has repeatedly taken the lead in landmark cases that have set ground-breaking legal precedents and recovered more than $50 billion for individuals who may not otherwise have been able to bring a claim.
16. What is a representative action?
A representative action is a type of collective action. In a representative action, the representative claimant brings a claim on behalf of a group of people with a shared grievance or interest. This means that members of the class can have their claims determined by the Court without each member having to bring their own individual claim.
Representative actions often allow people to bring a claim against powerful organisations where they would not otherwise be able to. This means that the case has strength in numbers, and those affected do not have to do anything at this stage.
Our representative action has been brought in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in England under the Civil Procedure Rules rule 19.6, which allows a claim to be brought by one person on behalf of everyone who has the same interest in the claim.
17. Why do we need a class representative?
A representative action under Civil Procedure Rules rule 19.6 is the most appropriate way for us to hold Facebook to account for violating our data protection rights. Representative actions require a representative to bring the claim on behalf of everyone affected.
18. How long will the claim take?
The length of time that legal proceedings take varies depending on the procedural steps required and the court timetable. We will provide updates as the claim progresses on the timetable, but in this case, it may take a few years for the claim to reach a conclusion.
19. What does being a member of the class mean?
At the moment, you do not have to do anything if you are a member of the class.
If we are successful, the court will determine a sum to compensate you either for the infringement of your data protection rights and the loss of control of your data or for what you could reasonably have charged Facebook for breaching your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998.
If you do not wish to be a member of the class, then click here.
20. I am eligible, but do not want to be a part of the claim, what should I do?
If you are an eligible class member, but do not wish to be a part of the claim for any reason, you can choose not to participate. This removes you from the claim and eliminates any eligibility to benefit from any payments.
Should you wish not to participate, please click here. You will be redirected to a web form which will require you to click and accept the following: ‘I do not want to participate in the collective action against Facebook.’ You will also have to enter your name and email address and will receive a confirmation email once this process is completed.
You do not need to give a reason for not participating.
21. Who are Milberg London?
Milberg London is an independent law firm focused exclusively on claimant litigation, like the Facebook You Owe Us claim. Run by a team of exceptional lawyers and supported by its claim aggregation affiliate Milberg Limited, Milberg London is uniquely placed to handle cases on behalf of claimant groups against large corporate defendants.
Milberg London are also advising Richard Lloyd on the Google You Owe Us claim. This case – Lloyd v Google – delivered a ground-breaking judgment in 2019 that opened the door to legal actions like this being brought to hold tech companies to account for data-related breaches of the law.Back