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Activist can't file class action against Facebook: EU lawyer

Austrian activist Max Schrems cannot bring a class action against Facebook for privacy breaches, although he is allowed to sue the US social media giant on a personal basis, the adviser to the EU’s top court said Tuesday.

Schrems had lodged cases in an Austrian court on behalf of seven other users in Austria, Germany and India against Facebook’s Irish division for various alleged rights violations involving personal data.

Facebook had argued that people can only sue as individual consumers, not as groups — and moreover that Schrems’s professional activities on his account meant he was no longer a private consumer in any case.

The advocate general to the European Court of Justice, Michal Bobek, said in a legal opinion that Schrems “may be able to rely on his consumer status in order to sue Facebook Ireland before the Austrian courts.”

“However, Mr Schrems cannot rely on his consumer status with respect to claims assigned to him by other consumers.”

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