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Spanish media association files $598 mln lawsuit against Facebook owner Meta

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A group representing 83 Spanish media outlets this week said it has filed a 550 million euro ($598 million) lawsuit against Facebook owner Meta Platforms (META.O), citing unfair competition in the advertising market.

The lawsuit was filed by the AMI newspaper publishing association in a commercial court on Friday, the association said in a statement on Monday.

The newspapers said Meta’s “massive” and “systematic” use of personal data from the users of its Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp platforms allows it to get an unfair advantage to design and offer personalized ads that constitute unfair competition.

The complainants, comprising Prisa (PRS.MC) – which publishes Spain’s main newspaper El Pais – and Vocento (VOC.MC), the owner of ABC and other media, as well as other privately-owned groups, said most of the ads placed by Meta use personal data obtained without express consent from clients and thus violate data protection rules.

Meta’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The complaint is the second time Spanish media are challenging tech companies to protect their turf.

In 2014, the Spanish government forced the closure of Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google News service until 2022 when new legislation allowing media outlets to negotiate directly with the tech giant was passed.

($1 = 0.9203 euros)

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