Facebook has taken the EU to court for invading the privacy of its employees, according to the Financial Times.
The social media company claims EU regulators have asked broad questions beyond the scope of two ongoing antitrust probes, and it has requested that the General Court in Luxembourg intervene.
The EU is investigating both how Facebook collects and makes money from data and whether its Marketplace business has an unfair advantage over rivals in classified advertising.
Since March, Facebook has provided the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, with 1.7m pages of documents, including internal emails, in response to multiple requests for information.
The EU has made further requests for all documents containing key words and phrases such as “big question”, “for free”, “not good for us” and “shutdown”, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. But in its appeal to the court, the social media company argued that these terms were too broad and would capture private information from its employees.
Tim Lamb, director and associate general counsel for competition at Facebook, said “We are cooperating with the Commission and would expect to give them hundreds of thousands of documents.
“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.”