Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc has agreed to pay $725m to resolve a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information. The proposed settlement, which was disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday, would resolve a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access the data of as many as 87 million users. Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement the largest to ever be achieved in a US data privacy class action and the most that Meta has ever paid to resolve a class action lawsuit.
“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a joint statement. Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which is subject to the approval of a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement settling was “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,” Meta said. Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without users’ consent from a researcher who had been allowed by Facebook to deploy 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, litigation, and high-profile hearings in the U.S. Congress where Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg was scrutinized by lawmakers. rice field.
The user’s attorneys argued that Facebook tricked them into believing they could retain control of their data, when in fact they had granted access to thousands of privileged outsiders. Facebook claimed it has no legitimate privacy interest in the information users share with their friends on their social media. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria called that view “deeply wrong” and largely allowed the case to proceed in 2019. The settlement affects an estimated 250 million to 280 million of his Facebook users, according to Thursday’s court filings. The amount an individual user receives depends on the number of people who have a valid claim on the portion of the invoice. The plaintiffs’ attorneys say they plan to ask the judge to award the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees equivalent to up to 25 percent of the settlement amount, or approximately $181 million.