Dec 23 (Reuters) – Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc ( META.O ) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, which uses personal information of users.
The proposed settlement, which was announced in court filings late Thursday, will resolve a long-running lawsuit stemming from revelations in 2018 that Facebook authorized a British political consulting firm. Cambridge Analytica has access to the information of 87 million users.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the settlement was the largest ever achieved in a US data privacy class action and the amount Meta paid to settle a class action lawsuit.
“This landmark settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and new privacy case,” said lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, in a joint statement.
Meta pleaded not guilty as part of the sentence, which is subject to approval by a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement that the settlement “is in the best interest of our community and shareholders.”
“Three years ago we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” said Meta.
Cambridge Analytica, now defunct, worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, gaining access to personal data from millions of Facebook accounts for the purposes of voter targeting and the focus.
Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without user consent from a researcher who was allowed by Facebook to install an app on its social media network that harvested data from millions of its users.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal that followed led to government investigations into its privacy practices, lawsuits and a US Congressional Supreme Court hearing. the CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg by the 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 by about the misuse of user information.
The state attorney general’s investigation is ongoing, and the company is fighting a lawsuit by the attorney general for Washington, DC.
Thursday’s ruling resolved claims by Facebook users that the company violated various federal and state laws by allowing application developers and business partners to harvest their data. personally without their consent in general.
Users’ lawyers say Facebook misleads them into thinking they can control personal data, when in fact it allows thousands of outsiders to gain access. .
Facebook has argued that its users have no special rights to the information they share with friends on social media. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria called that idea “deeply flawed” and in 2019 largely allowed the case to move forward.
Nate Raymond reports in Boston; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman
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