Meta, Facebook’s parent company, settles Cambridge Analytica scandal for $725 million

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of the business team of Meta Platforms is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. REUTERS / Yves Herman

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) -Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, accessing users’ personal information.

The proposed settlement, disclosed in court filings late Thursday, would settle a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed the firm to lead British management Cambridge Analytica accessed the data of 87 million users.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys called the proposed settlement the largest ever reached in a U.S. data privacy class action and the largest amount Meta has ever paid to settle a lawsuit. group.

“This historic settlement will provide meaningful class relief in this complex and novel privacy lawsuit,” the plaintiffs’ lead attorneys, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a statement. common father.

Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement the settlement is “in the best interest of the community and our shareholders.”

“Over the past three years, we have improved our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive security program,” said Meta.

Cambridge Analytica, now defunct, worked for Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 and gained access to personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for the purposes of profiling and voter targeting.

Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without user consent from a researcher who was authorized by Facebook to deploy an application on the social media network that collected data from millions of users.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal then prompted government investigations into privacy practices, lawsuits, and a high-profile US congressional hearing where Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was accused of fraud. criticized by lawmakers.

In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation into its privacy practices and $100 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint. US exchanges that they have deceived investors about the misuse of user data.

The state attorney general’s investigations are ongoing and the company is fighting the attorney general’s lawsuit for Washington, D.C.

Thursday’s settlement settled complaints from Facebook users that the company violated a variety of federal and state laws by allowing app developers and business partners to collect personal data. their employees without their consent on a large scale.

The users’ attorneys allege that Facebook misled them into thinking they could retain control of their personal data, when in fact it gave thousands of outsiders priority access.

Facebook argues that its users have no legitimate privacy interest in the information they share with friends on the social network. But US District Judge Vince Chhabria called that view “too wrong” and in 2019 largely allowed the case to proceed.


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