In a bid to settle a prolonged class action lawsuit brought about by reports in 2018 that Facebook shared user data with consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica for the purpose of political advertising, Facebook’s parent corporation Meta has agreed to pay $725 million.
According to CNBC, the settlement does not entail Meta admitting any wrongdoing, and it still needs to be approved by federal judges in the Northern District of California. According to the settlement agreement, Facebook has never before paid $725 million to settle a class action complaint, making it the biggest price ever in a data privacy class action case.
The Cambridge Analytica incident, which exposed Facebook’s sharing of user data on 87 million people obtained through the personality quiz app “This Is Your Digital Life,” served as the initial motivation for the case. The incident attracted a lot of attention due to Cambridge Analytica’s connection to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as well as what it showed about Facebook’s lackadaisical approach to user privacy. Later, further instances of Facebook exchanging user data with third parties without sufficient authorization were included in the class-action case.
Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver of Keller Rohrback LLP, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, in a press statement, disclosed that “This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case.”
In a statement by the spokesperson for Meta, “We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders. Over the last three years, we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program.”
According to the settlement, following the 2018 scandal, Meta has “meaningfully changed” its data-sharing methods and will no longer permit third parties access to the same user data.