Litigation funder IMF Bentham Ltd. (IMF.AX) is preparing to potentially sue social media giant Facebook Inc. in Australia over its sharing of usersâ€™ data with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The worldâ€™s largest social network said in April that data of up to 87 million people ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, which was employed by Donald Trumpâ€™s 2016 US presidential campaign.
In Australia, more than 311,000 users data may have been used without authorisation, Facebook said in April, when Australiaâ€™s Information Commissioner, the countryâ€™s privacy regulator, began to investigate.
IMF said it had complained to the Australian Information Commissioner alleging breaches of privacy laws over the data sharing.
â€œA class action lawsuit seeking compensation for users could follow depending on the regulatorâ€™s response,â€™â€™ IMF said.
A Facebook spokesperson did not comment directly on Tuesday on the IMFâ€™s statement.
However, she said the company was â€œfully co-operating with the investigation currently underway by the Australian Privacy Commissioner,â€ using the former name of the Information Commissioner.
The London-based consultancy Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy in May and was unavailable for comment.
It said previously that it deleted the data and did not use it in Trumpâ€™s campaign.
Facebook has faced widespread criticism from users and scrutiny around the world from regulators and lawmakers since news broke that usersâ€™ data had been shared.
It has also been sued.
Nathan Landis, an investment manager at IMF Bentham, said the firm already had a prime litigant, a Sydney man who did not want to be identified.
â€œThereâ€™s just not that much precedent, certainly not for the sort of scale that weâ€™re talking about here,â€ he said, referring to the potential number of litigants.
The information commissioner closes most investigations in a year, therefore, IMF said it may take some time before it decides whether to pursue a lawsuit or not with Landis.
It said that it may wait for regulatory investigations in the European Union and Britain to conclude before making a move. (NAN)