Meta Agrees To Pay $725 Million To Resolve The Cambridge Analytica Scandal3 min read
Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), the company that owns Facebook, has reportedly agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of enabling third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information.
The proposed settlement, revealed in a court filing, would end a long-running legal battle sparked by allegations in 2018 that Facebook had granted the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica access to the data of up to 87 million users.
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The proposed amount, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers, reportedly is the highest ever reached in a U.S. data privacy class action and the most Meta has ever paid to settle a class action complaint.
The main plaintiffs’ lawyers, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, reportedly said in a joint statement that the historic settlement would give the class real relief in this complicated and unusual privacy issue.
As part of the deal, Meta did not acknowledge guilt, which is subject to approval by a federal judge in San Francisco. Reportedly, the company stated that the settlement was “in the best interests of our community and stockholders.”
The company changed its approach to privacy and established a complete privacy program during the previous three years, Meta reportedly stated.
Cambridge Analytica, which is now defunct, reportedly worked for Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, gaining access to personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for voter profiling and targeting.
Cambridge Analytica also reportedly received the information without the knowledge of the users from a researcher who had been granted permission by Facebook to launch an app on its social media network that harvested data from millions of its users.
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The resulting Cambridge Analytica controversy sparked federal investigations into the company’s privacy policies, as well as lawsuits and a high-profile congressional hearing in which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interrogated by MPs.
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In 2019, Facebook reportedly agreed to pay $5 billion to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation into its privacy practices, as well as $100 million to satisfy SEC charges that it misled investors about the abuse of users’ data. State attorneys general are conducting investigations, and the business is contesting a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Washington, D.C.
The agreement reportedly resolves accusations by Facebook users that the corporation violated multiple federal and state laws by allowing app developers and commercial partners to gather their personal data on a large scale without their consent.
The users’ attorneys said that Facebook deceived them into believing they could retain control over their personal data when, in fact, it allowed thousands of favored strangers access.
Facebook reportedly said that its users had no genuine privacy interest in information shared with friends on social media. However, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria termed that viewpoint “so incorrect” and permitted the lawsuit to proceed in large part in 2019.
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