Meta will pay $725 million to resolve the class-action lawsuit involving Cambridge Analytica.


In order to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that Facebook parent firm Meta permitted third parties to acquire the personal data of millions of users, Meta has agreed to pay $725 million (£600 million).

The proposed agreement would put an end to a four-year litigation that was brought about by news that Facebook (Meta) had given the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica access to the data of up to 87 million users in 2018.

Four months after it was originally reported that Meta intended to settle the case, the settlement—obtained by Reuters—has been fully disclosed in a public court filing in the Northern District of California.

The letter states, “Plaintiffs humbly request that the Court preliminarily approve the $725 million non-reversionary Settlement.”

The proposed payment was described as the largest ever reached in a US data privacy class action and as the most Meta has ever paid to settle a class action complaint by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The lead plaintiffs’ attorneys, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, adding that “this historic settlement will provide real relief to the class in this complicated and unusual privacy issue.”

Despite the amount of the compensation, Meta will not confess any fault in the incident as a result of it.

The class-action lawsuit relates to a Facebook regulation that permitted Cambridge Analytica to create an app that collects personal information from Facebook users, enabling the business to target niche groups of people with certain political advertisements.

The voter behavior leading up to the 2016 US election and the EU referendum campaign that led to the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc was mapped out in large part thanks to the help of this program.

Following the data-harvesting controversy, Meta (then known as Facebook) was hit with significant penalties and settlements. As part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the business ultimately paid $5 billion (£4.14 billion), $100 million (£82 million) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and £500,000 to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.

The scandal’s inability to be avoided was acknowledged at the time by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and as a result, Facebook started to limit third parties’ access to user data.

Despite the numerous agreements Meta struck, the business has spent the last four years defending against a class-action lawsuit in the Northern District of California, even making the case that those who freely joined the social network shouldn’t have any reasonable expectations of privacy.

US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed these claims. He disagreed with Facebook’s claims that users had no genuine privacy interest in the data they shared with friends on social media and that they had not experienced any “tangible” harm.

According to a 2019 article by Chhabria, “Facebook’s move to dismiss is replete with assumptions regarding the extent to which social media users might properly expect their personal information and communications to stay private.” Facebook’s perspective is completely incorrect.

The plaintiffs anticipate that “in the region of 250-280 million” persons will be affected by the case, or “all Facebook users in the United States during the Class Period, which runs from May 24, 2007 to December 22, 2022.” All of these users are included in the settlement and, if they choose to apply, will only receive a little sum of money from the pot each, according to the attorneys.

Meta claimed in a statement that the settlement was “in the greatest interest of our community and shareholders”

The business stated, “Over the previous three years we completely redesigned our approach to privacy and created a comprehensive privacy program.

The San Francisco court where the statement was submitted must still approve it, and a hearing is scheduled for next March.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has endured a number of other scandals involving its handling of user data, violent and manipulative content on its platforms, its allegedly purposeful addictiveness, potential antitrust violations, discriminatory ad targeting, and its since-shuttered digital currency project, Libra.

Washington, D.C. has sued Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, alleging that he was personally accountable for the failures that permitted the harvesting of user data, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal is still ongoing.

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