May 18, 2024

Spanish Media Group Slaps Meta With $600M Lawsuit

A coalition of as many as 83 media outlets in Spain has collectively filed a staggering $600 million (550 million euro) lawsuit against Meta Platforms. The AMI Media Association, which represents renowned media, including ABC and El Pais, accused Meta of unfair competition in advertising.

According to a source familiar with Meta, the company hasn’t received any legal documents yet.

It also alleged that Meta breached data protection norms established by the EU between 2018 and 2023.

The coalition filed the lawsuit in a commercial court last Friday, accusing Meta of a “systematic” and “massive” use of personal data from its platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

This misuse of personal data is believed to provide Meta with an undue advantage over other media outlets in crafting personalized advertisements and delivering the same.

The press office of Meta refrained from responding to the issue for comments.

A lawyer batting for the newspapers, Nicolas Gonzalez Cuellar, focussed on the broader implications of the legal proceedings. He stated, “Of course, in any other EU country, the same legal proceeding could be initiated”. This points to the potential ripple effect that this case may have on Europe.

According to the allegations, Meta violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation that has been in place from May 2018 onwards.

The lawsuit brought about against Meta accuses the company of using personal data that they acquired without proper consent from their account holders.

This directly violates norms established by the GDPR, which has mandated explicit authorization while collecting and using the users’ personal information.

This legal action from Spanish media marks the latest efforts by any traditional platform to confront tech giants in legal matters. Further, it aims to secure their interest against exploitation on the grounds of advertisements.

With the latest round of legal battles, the trend continues where global media houses are taking the fight with tech giants to the courts. The prime concern lies in getting fair compensation for using their distributions legally for content.

This lawsuit comes at a time when global media platforms are trying to control the impact of tech giants in revenue sharing and advertising.

In 2014, Spanish Media achieved a significant victory against Google News, with the government shutting down the service. Under the new legislation, it reopened in 2022, where media outlets in Spain could directly negotiate fees with Google.

Earlier in 2023, the Canadian government introduced fresh regulations, making it mandatory for internet giants to pay compensation to news organizations for using their content.

The ongoing row between the coalition of Spanish media channels and Meta is yet another instance portraying the struggle for power between tech giants and traditional media.

The potential implications of this battle on the future of digital advertisement as well as data protection norms, remain to be seen.

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