On Dec. 23 – Meta Platforms Inc. (META.O) the company that owns Facebook agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the social media behemoth of granting access to user data to outside companies such as Cambridge Analytica.
The long-running lawsuit was brought about by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had permitted the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica access to data on as many as 87 million users. The proposed settlement which was disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday would put an end to the litigation.
The proposed payment according to the plaintiff’s attorneys would be the biggest ever reached in a class action lawsuit involving data privacy in the United States and would be the highest settlement sum ever made by Meta.
In a joint statement, the plaintiffs’ main attorneys Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver claimed that “this historic settlement will provide real relief to the class in this complicated and unusual privacy issue.”
The settlement, which depends on a federal judge’s approval in San Francisco, does not include an admission of guilt by Meta. The settlement was “in the best interest of our community and stockholders” the firm claimed in a statement.
According to Meta, we completely revamped our privacy approach and implemented a comprehensive privacy program during the past three years.
During Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, which is now defunct, had access to personal data from millions of Facebook accounts for the purposes of voter profiling and targeting.
Without the users’ permission, Cambridge Analytica received the data from a researcher who was given permission by Facebook to utilize an app on its social media network to harvest data from millions of its users.
The ensuing Cambridge Analytica crisis sparked legal actions, regulatory inquiries into the company’s privacy policies, and a well-publicized congressional hearing in the US when Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, was cross-examined by MPs.
In 2019 Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to settle an investigation into its privacy practices by the Federal Trade Commission and $100 million to resolve allegations that it misled investors about the misuse of user data.
The corporation is defending against a lawsuit brought by the attorney general for Washington D.C. while state attorneys general are still looking into the matter.
Facebook users had accused the firm of breaking numerous federal and state laws by allowing app developers and business partners to widely gather their personal data without their knowledge However Thursday’s deal put an end to their accusations.
The users’ attorneys said that Facebook deceived them into thinking they could maintain control over personal data when it allowed thousands of desired outsiders access.
Facebook maintained that its users’ social media sharing with friends does not constitute a justified invasion of their privacy, but U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria deemed that point of view “so incorrect” and mainly approved the case’s progress in 2019.
According to a court filing on Thursday, the settlement applies to 250–280 million Facebook users. Depending on how many users make legitimate claims for a share of the settlement the amount that each individual user receives will vary.
According to attorneys, the plaintiffs intend to urge the judge to grant them up to 25% of the settlement as legal expenses or around $181 million.
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