Facebook sues EU for demanding too many documents

  • Facebook is suing the EU for asking for too many documents as part of an antitrust probe.
  • The company filed an official challenge against the European Commission on July 15, and confirmed it’s suing the Commission to Reuters on Monday.
  • The Commission has asked for company documents containing a set of 2,500 key phrases including “big question,” “shut down,” and “not good for us.”
  • Facebook contends this will encompass emails infringing on the privacy of individual employees.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook is resisting giving over reams of internal documents to the EU’s antitrust investigator.

Bloomberg reported that on July 15 Facebook’s lawyer in the EU filed an official challenge to a request from the European Commission for documents relating to the company’s internal practices. Facebook confirmed to Reuters on Monday it’s suing the Commission for demanding unreasonable quantities of information. The Commission said it would defend its position in court, per Reuters.

Facebook’s lawyer Tim Lamb said the EU’s requested internal emails that mentioned a set of 2,500 terms including “big question,” “shut down,” and “not good for us,” and could end up infringing on the privacy of individual employees.

“We are cooperating with the Commission and would expect to give them hundreds of thousands of documents,” Lamb told Business Insider in a statement. “The exceptionally broad nature of the Commission’s requests means we would be required to turn over predominantly irrelevant documents that have nothing to do with the Commission’s investigations, including highly sensitive personal information such as employees’ medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees.

“We think such requests should be reviewed by the EU Courts.”

The Commission has been investigating Facebook’s data practices and its Marketplace platform since summer 2019, but has not yet launched a formal antitrust probe.

Reuters reports Facebook has already handed 315,000 documents over to the Commission.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is preparing to testify before Congress on Wednesday in a series of big tech US antitrust hearings.

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