Human Rights Activist Sues Facebook Over Alleged Personal Data Gathering For Targeted Ads

A human rights activist is suing Facebook’s owner in the Supreme Court, alleging that the company is violating her right to object to the collection of her personal data.

Tanya O’Carroll has sued Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, alleging that it violated UK data laws by failing to respect her right to request that Facebook stop collecting and processing her data. Facebook makes money by creating user profiles and matching them with advertisers who target people based on their specific interests and backgrounds.

“This case is really about us all being able to connect with social media on our own terms, and without having to essentially accept that we should be subjected to hugely invasive tracking surveillance profiling just to be able to access social media,” O’Carroll told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

O’Carroll, a senior fellow at Foxglove, a UK legal campaign group focused on technology industry accountability, claims that Facebook violated article 21 (2) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which gives individuals the right to object to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes. A successful case, according to O’Carroll, could set a precedent for millions of Facebook, social media, and search engine users.

“With this case, I’m really using this right that’s long been there on the law books, but has been up until now not been exercised, which is to simply say ‘I object’, and if we are successful in that then everybody will have that right,” she told the BBC.

O’Carroll has filed a claim in the high court and is waiting for Meta to acknowledge the claim and confirm that the company intends to defend it, followed by a hearing and court judgment. O’Carroll is not requesting monetary compensation, but rather a decision on whether she can opt out of being profiled for advertising purposes.

“We know that privacy is important to our users and we take this seriously. That’s why we build tools like privacy check-up and ads preferences, where we explain what data people have shared and show how they can exercise control over the type of ads they see,” said a Meta spokesperson.

(Adapted from


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