Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc has agreed to pay $725 million (roughly Rs 6,000 crore) to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that the social media giant allowed third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information.
The proposed settlement, disclosed in a court filing late Thursday, would resolve a long-running lawsuit sparked by a 2018 disclosure. Facebook Allow UK political consultancies Cambridge Analytica Access data for up to 87 million users.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement the largest ever in a U.S. data privacy class action and the largest to date. Yuan Once paid to settle class action lawsuits.
“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the collective in this complex and novel privacy case,” lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a joint statement.
Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement that the settlement was “in the best interest of our community and shareholders.”
“Over the past three years, we have refined our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” Meta said.
Cambridge Analytica, now defunct, worked on Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 and harvested personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for voter analysis and targeting.
Cambridge Analytica obtained the information without users’ consent from a researcher who had been given permission by Facebook to deploy an app on its social media network that collected data from millions of users .
The ensuing Cambridge Analytica scandal sparked government investigations into its privacy practices, lawsuits and a high-profile U.S. congressional hearing in which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by lawmakers.
In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion (roughly Rs. 41,500 crore) to settle an FTC investigation into its privacy practices and $100 million (roughly Rs. Allegations of misleading investors misusing user data.
The state attorney general’s investigation is ongoing, and the company is fighting a lawsuit filed by the Washington, D.C., attorney general.
Thursday’s settlement addresses allegations by Facebook users that the company violated various federal and state laws by allowing app developers and business partners to broadly collect their personal data without their consent.
The users’ lawyers allege Facebook misled them into thinking they had control over personal data when in fact it gave access to thousands of preferred outsiders.
Facebook argues that its users have no legitimate privacy interest in the information they share with friends on social media. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chabria called that view “deeply false” and largely allowed the case to move forward in 2019.
© Thomson Reuters 2022