Meta to settle Cambridge Analytica scandal case for $725m

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc ( META.O ) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media group of letting third parties, including to Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information.

The proposed settlement, revealed in court late Thursday, would end a long-running lawsuit that stemmed from revelations in 2018 that Facebook allowed British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access data for 87 million users.

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Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the proposed settlement would be the largest ever reached in a US data privacy class action and the most that Meta has paid in a settlement. in a class action lawsuit.

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“This historic settlement will bring relief to the class in this particular case and in the new cases,” said lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, in a joint statement.

Meta pleaded not guilty as part of the settlement, which is subject to the approval of a San Francisco-based judge. The company said in a statement that the decision was “good for our community and shareholders.”

“Over the past three years, we’ve revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” Meta said.

Cambridge Analytica, now defunct, worked for Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and accessed personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for purposes of voter identification and targeting.

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Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without users’ consent from a researcher who allowed Facebook to release an app on its social network that harvested data from millions of its users.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal led to intense government scrutiny of its privacy practices, lawsuits and a major US congressional hearing where Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled 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 claims by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled investors for misuse of user data.

Investigations by federal attorneys general are ongoing, and the company is fighting a lawsuit by the attorney general for Washington, DC

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Thursday’s settlement resolved claims by Facebook users that the company violated various federal and state laws by allowing app developers and business partners to harvest their data without their consent. on a broad basis.

The users’ lawyers allege that Facebook misled them into thinking that they could maintain control over personal data, when it gave access to thousands of outsiders.

Facebook argued that its users do not have privacy over what they share with their friends on social media. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria called that opinion “wrong” and in 2019 allowed the case to move forward.



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