Cambridge Analytica case
The corporate parent of Facebook will pay $725m in settlement to an unresolved lawsuit that claims the world’s biggest social media site allowed millions of their user’s personal information to be shared with Cambridge Analytica. This firm backed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the 2016 election.
The settlement terms reached with Meta Platforms, the holding company of Facebook and Instagram, were disclosed in court papers submitted late on Thursday. A judge must confirm it during the March San Francisco federal court hearing.
The settlement proposal, which was announced in an application to the court late Thursday evening, would settle a lengthy lawsuit brought about by revelations in the year 2018. Facebook had granted the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica access to data of up to more than 87 million users.
The scandal began with the 2018 disclosures that Cambridge Analytica, a firm with ties to Trump’s political strategy advisor Steve Bannon, had paid a Facebook app developer to gain access to the personal data of around 87 million people who use the platform. This data was later utilized to target U.S. voters during the election of 2016, which led to Trump’s election as the 45th president.
The furor due to the revelations resulted in a tearful Zuckerberg being quizzed in front of U.S. lawmakers during a highly-publicized congressional hearing and prompted calls for people to remove the accounts on Facebook. While Facebook’s growth has slowed as more users connect and play on competing platforms such as TikTok, the social network is still home to more than 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million users in Canada and the U.S. and Canada.
This lawsuit looking to be recognized as a class action involving Facebook users, claimed that the breach of privacy proved Facebook is a “data broker and surveillance firm” in addition to a social media platform.
Two sides signed an agreement to settle the matter in August, just a couple of weeks before a Sept. 20 date that required Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his long-time chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to be subject to the deposition process.
The company, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, announced in a statement that it was seeking a settlement because it was in the best interests of its shareholders and community.
“Over the last three years, we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” said Dina El-Kassaby-Luce. “We look forward to continuing to offer users the services they like and rely on while putting their privacy first.”
The subsequent Cambridge Analytica scandal fueled government investigation into the company’s privacy practices, including lawsuits and a prominent U.S. congressional hearing where legislators grilled Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to end a Federal Trade Commission probe into its privacy practices, and $100 million to pay U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that it misled investors on the use of user information. 0_0_1.
State attorneys’ investigations general are in progress, and the company is fighting a suit brought by the attorney general of Washington, D.C.
Thursday’s settlement settled allegations by Facebook users who claimed that the company had violated a variety of state and federal laws in letting app developers and business partners collect the personal data of users without their consent on an extensive basis.
The lawyers of the users asserted that Facebook had misled them into thinking they had control over their personal information. Still, it allowed thousands of trusted outsiders to access the data.
Facebook has argued that its users don’t have any legitimate privacy rights in the information they share with their friends on social media. However, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said that the view was “so wrong” and, in 2019, generally allowed the case to proceed.
The settlement is estimated to cover 250-280 million Facebook users, per the court filing on Thursday. The amount a user will receive is contingent on the number of people who file legitimate claims for a portion of the compensation.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers say they’ll request that the judge give their clients up to a percent of the settlement in attorney’s fees, which is approximately $181 million.
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