Facebook has taken the EU to court

Facebook takes the EU to court – for invasion of privacy! Regulator ‘overstepped the scope when quizzing employees as part of anti-trust probe’

  • Facebook is suing the European Union for ‘invading the privacy of employees’ 
  • The social media giant alleges EU regulators asked broad questions, beyond the scope of two ongoing antitrust investigations  
  • Facebook lawyer Tim Lamb said regulators requested to see ‘predominantly irrelevant documents that have nothing to do with the investigation’ 

Facebook Inc has taken the European Union to court for invading the privacy of its employees, the social media company said today. 

The social media company claims EU regulators have asked broad questions beyond the scope of two ongoing antitrust probes, and it has requested that the General Court in Luxembourg intervene. 

Facebook has been 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.

European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters, ahead of an EU leaders summit at the European Council headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium July 16, 2020

The company has since then provided 315,000 documents equivalent to 1.7 million pages to the Commission.

‘The exceptionally broad nature of the Commission’s requests means we would be required to turn over predominantly irrelevant documents that have nothing 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 counsel Tim Lamb said in a statement.

‘We think such requests should be reviewed by the EU Courts.’

The Commission said it would defend its case in court.

Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2018. Facebook has been 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

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 search terms could be found in employees’ health information, performance evaluation and even job applications to the company which are not relevant to the EU investigations.

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

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