Keller Lenkner & Quinn Emanuel File Nationwide Antitrust Class Action Against Facebook
Lawsuit Alleges the Company Illegally Obtained a Monopoly by Exploiting User Data & Deceiving Consumers About Data Privacy
CHICAGO, Ill., December 4, 2020 / PRNewswire / — National plaintiffs’ law firm Keller Lenkner LLC and global business litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. alleging violations of federal antitrust laws and California law on behalf of Facebook users.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the complaint alleges that Facebook obtained and maintained a social network and social media monopoly by consistently deceiving consumers about the data-privacy protections it provided to users, and by exploiting the data it extracted from users to target smaller startup companies for destruction or acquisition.
The lawsuit seeks to put an end to Facebook’s misrepresentations about its privacy practices and its anticompetitive acquisition conduct; to require Facebook to engage in third-party auditing of its conduct; and to require Facebook to divest assets, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, that entrench its market power.
“It is illegal for Big Tech companies like Facebook to acquire a monopoly by deceiving consumers about the data they harvest and make available to third parties, like Cambridge Analytica,” Keller Lenkner Partner Warren Postman said. “This lawsuit is being filed not just to stop Facebook’s deceptions about its lax data privacy protections, but also to stop Facebook from continuing to entrench its monopoly by using valuable consumer data to identify smaller competitors and target them for acquisition or destruction.”
According to the complaint, which was filed on behalf of named plaintiffs Sarah Grabert and Maximilian Klein, Facebook did not achieve its Big Tech monopoly through innovation or vigorous competition. Despite its public pledge to protect user privacy, Facebook lied to users and violated their trust in a scheme to build a technology empire. Facebook also acquired technology from smaller firms that it used to track consumer activity across the internet so that it could identify and target competitors.
In a strategic, intentional ploy for market domination, Facebook engaged in its scheme to destroy all competition without a care for the ultimate harm it would inflict on consumers. By the time Facebook’s deception about its lackluster privacy protections became public knowledge, Facebook had already achieved dominance, making it difficult for any firm to challenge its social media and social network monopoly.
“If consumers had known the truth about Facebook’s false claims about user data privacy, they never would have given Facebook access to their personal information,” Quinn Emanuel Partner Stephen Swedlow said. “Facebook promised users stringent privacy protections, but then cheated its way to market dominance. By the time Facebook’s deception first came to light in 2018, Facebook was already capable of using its behemoth status as a weapon to destroy smaller competitors.”
The complaint notes that Facebook derives enormous economic value from the data it harvests from consumers on its platform. In fact, Facebook itself has described how it generates massive earnings per user from the data it collects. The complaint details how Facebook’s destruction of competition has caused consumers substantial economic injury. Consumers who sign up for Facebook agree to give up their valuable data and attention in exchange for using Facebook’s platform. That information and attention is then sold in measurable units to advertisers in exchange for money. The complaint alleges that consumers were harmed by Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct, as they did not receive the benefit of their bargain with Facebook.
The lawsuit includes claims for violations of federal antitrust laws and California common law. It also seeks an order enjoining Facebook from continuing to engage in the alleged wrongful acts, requiring Facebook to engage third-party auditors to evaluate and correct problems with Facebook’s conduct, and requiring Facebook to divest assets like Instagram and WhatsApp. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages, restitution and/or disgorgement of Facebook’s wrongful gains, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
To Learn More: Consumers who would like to learn additional information or share their experiences can contact Keller Lenkner at 312.741.5220, email@example.com, or by visiting www.kellerlenkner.com.
ABOUT KELLER LENKNER: Keller Lenkner LLC represents plaintiffs in complex litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout the nation. The firm acts for clients in many types of cases, including class and mass actions, arbitrations, and multi-district litigation matters. Its team includes three former law clerks at the Supreme Court of the United States and former partners and associates from the country’s leading law firms. Since its founding in 2018, the firm has secured results for more than 100,000 clients.
ABOUT QUINN EMANUEL: Quinn Emanuel is an 800+ lawyer business litigation firm—the largest in the world devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration, with 23 global office locations. Firm lawyers have tried more than 2,300 cases, winning 88% of them. When representing defendants, Quinn Emanuel’s trial experience gets better settlements or defense verdicts. When representing plaintiffs, Quinn Emanuel lawyers have won more than $70 billion in judgments and settlements. Quinn Emanuel has also obtained five 9-figure jury verdicts, forty-three 9-figure settlements, and nineteen 10-figure settlements.
FTI Consulting named Quinn Emanuel the biggest litigation firm in the world. The American Lawyer named Quinn Emanuel the top IP litigation firm in the U.S. and the firm as one of the top six commercial litigation firms in the country. General Counsel at Fortune 500 companies have selected us six times as one of the four “most feared” law firms – the lawyers they “least like to see” on the other side – and have twice named us their “most feared” firm. The UK legal periodical, The Lawyer named us “International Firm of the Year.” Law360 selected us as Antitrust, Appellate, Banking, Class Action, Insurance, Product Liability, IP, White Collar, and Trials “Practice Groups of the Year.” Managing IP twice recognized us as having the “Best ITC Litigation Practice” and honored us with the “Patent Contentious West” award. Legal Business has named us “US Law Firm of the Year” three times, and our German offices have been named both IP Litigation and Patent Litigation Firm of the Year by JUVE, Germany’s most prestigious legal publication. Global Investigations Review, a leading legal periodical covering global white collar investigations, named us the “Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year.” Global Arbitration Review named us the 11th best arbitration practice in the world.
For Keller Lenkner: Travis Lenkner, Managing Partner – 312.741.5223 – firstname.lastname@example.org
For Quinn Emanuel: Stephen Swedlow, Managing Partner – 312.705.7488 – email@example.com