Data leak on Facebook – are users now entitled to compensation?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) increases the pressure on data processing companies to take the privacy of their users seriously. However, individuals often have no chance of asserting their claims against the company. A company from Munich wants to change that.

In 2019, information from 533 million Facebook users in 106 countries fell into the hands of cyber criminals as a result of a data leak. It was not until April 2021 that the information appeared on a public database, as “ Business Insider ” reports.

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Those affected can have their claims checked free of charge

The leak in August 2019 resulted in telephone numbers, names, locations and e-mail addresses, among other things, in the hacker database. Facebook itself confirmed the data leak in a post on its own blog on April 6th. You can find out whether you are affected on the “ HaveIBeenPwned ” page . The site maintains a database of user information that has become public.

The European Society for Data Protection, a GmbH based in Munich, is now investigating whether Facebook has violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with the data leak. According to Article 82 of the GDPR, “[y] every person who has suffered material or immaterial damage as a result of a violation of this regulation has […] the right to compensation from the controller or the processor.”

For this purpose, the company has set up a website on which those affected can register. By registering, you can have your claim against Facebook checked by the company free of charge. For this purpose, the data will be passed on to the Raimer law firm in Düsseldorf. Affected parties who would like to have their claim checked must therefore consent to the data being passed on in the application.

If the law firm sees a chance that an individual case could succeed in court, it tries to enforce the claim. In the event of success, the company will withhold 25 percent of the damages to cover its costs. If there is no prospect of the lawsuit being successful, there are no costs for those affected.

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Data leakage was already costing Facebook dearly

It is unclear how much compensation those affected can hope for. Data protection authorities have already received millions of sums from companies like Google due to GDPR violations. In the case of lawsuits from individuals, the sums have so far been in the lower four-digit range.

In the case of the data leak on Facebook, however, the chances are good that there has been a violation of the GDPR. In July 2019, before Facebook could plug the data leak, the company had to pay a fine to the Federal Trade Commission, a US competition and data protection authority. As the US medium ” NPR ” reported, Facebook has disregarded an agreement with the authority to protect the privacy of users. The company was fined $ 5 billion.

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