Spanish media group files lawsuit against Meta

Meta business data center

In a significant move, a coalition of 83 Spanish media outlets, led by the AMI newspaper publishing association, has initiated legal action against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Reuters  reported.

Filed in a commercial court on Friday, the €550 million ($598 million) lawsuit alleges unfair competition in the advertising market. The media group contends that Meta’s extensive and systematic use of personal data from users across its platforms—Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp—provides an unjust advantage in crafting personalized ads.

According to the consortium, Meta’s advertising practices are deemed “massive” and “systematic,” allowing them to design and offer highly targeted advertisements. This, they argue, constitutes unfair competition in the market.

Notable members of the complainant group include Prisa, publisher of Spain’s primary newspaper El Pais, and Vocento, which owns ABC and various other media outlets. The lawsuit asserts that a significant portion of Meta’s ads utilizes personal data obtained without explicit user consent, thereby violating data protection regulations.

This legal challenge mirrors a past instance in 2014 when the Spanish government compelled the temporary closure of Alphabet’s Google News until 2022. The shutdown was lifted with the introduction of new legislation enabling media outlets to engage in direct negotiations with the tech giant.

As of now, Meta Platforms has not issued a response to the allegations. This lawsuit underscores the ongoing struggle between traditional media and tech giants for control in the evolving digital landscape.

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