Meta agrees to pay $725 million over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Meta Platforms has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a long-running lawsuit that claimed Facebook illegally shared user data with research firm Cambridge Analytica.

It is “the largest recovery ever obtained in a data privacy class action and the largest that Facebook has ever paid to settle a private class action,” the plaintiffs said in a court filing Thursday in the afternoon.

The settlement brings Meta closer to settling a 2018 lawsuit filed by Facebook users after it was revealed that the British research firm connected to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had access to data from up to 87 million subscribers of the social network. . . The settlement requires the approval of a federal judge overseeing the lawsuit.

Consumer advocates had steadily gained momentum to dig into the company’s internal records to support their claims that Facebook failed to safeguard their personal data. Facebook’s parent company could have been on the hook for hundreds of millions more dollars if it had gone to trial and lost the case.

“We sought a settlement as it is in the best interest of our community and shareholders,” Meta said in an emailed statement. “Over the past three years we’ve revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services that people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”

Since the case was filed, Facebook has stopped allowing third parties to access data about users through their friends, the plaintiffs said in a court filing detailing the settlement. The company has also strengthened its ability to restrict and control how third parties acquire and use Facebook user information, and improved its methods for telling users what information Facebook collects and shares about them, according to the filing.

Last month, Google agreed to pay a total of $391.5 million to 40 US states to settle an investigation into controversial location-tracking practices in what state officials called the largest privacy settlement of the history of the United States. Separately, a judge last month approved a $90 million Meta settlement to settle a lawsuit over Facebook’s use of browser cookies and the “Like” button to track user activity .

Meta said in an August court filing that it had agreed to settle Cambridge Analytica’s lawsuit, but terms were not disclosed at the time. A filing a month earlier showed that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg would have to sit through up to six hours of questioning by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The same document indicated that former COO Sheryl Sandberg would also testify.

Facebook had argued that it disclosed its practices in user agreements. He had also said that anyone who shares their information on a social network should not count on maintaining their privacy.

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