January 27, 2023

Eureka News

All the News All the Time

Facebook parent Meta plans to settle $725 million class action lawsuit brought by Cambridge Analytica • Eureka News Now

Facebook’s parent company Meta has agreed a $725 million settlement to settle a class action lawsuit related to the Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal.

The deal, first reported by Reuters today, comes nearly four months after it was first revealed that Meta had proposed a settlement in the Northern District of California, where the lawsuit was first filed about four years ago. For the past several years, Meta has fought back the lawsuit, which consolidated complaints from several Facebook users, arguing that those who volunteered to join the social network shouldn’t have any real privacy expectations — a claim the judge made , who oversaw the case in 2019, called it “so wrong.”

The scandal in question – one of many to hit the Facebook world over the years – relates to the now-defunct British policy consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which has been channeling data from tens of millions of Facebook users through a survey app called MyDigitalLife with a view to influence voting behavior through targeted advertising. The ensuing privacy uproar led to various fines and settlements, with Meta (then called Facebook) paying $5 billion in a deal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for Misleading Investors paid , and a modest £500,000 ($600,000) to the Office of the UK Information Commissioner.

It’s also worth noting that while this class action lawsuit was Cambridge Analytica, it extended to other third parties who may have misused Facebook user data.

towards the music

While Meta co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously testified before Congress about the scandal, his responses proved somewhat evasive, and apart from a carefully controlled testimony before the European Parliament shortly thereafter, Meta’s upper echelons did not have to face it more directly questions about the matter. However, in the face of this pending lawsuit, Zuckerberg, former COO Sheryl Sandberg and new COO Javier Olivan were prepared to testify again at an upcoming hearing. That’s something Meta clearly didn’t want, and it’s something that’s clearly not going to happen now that a tentative agreement has been reached.

In the filing notifying the court of the proposed settlement, attorneys conclude that the deal agreed upon between the plaintiffs and Meta was an “extraordinary outcome” that resulted in the “largest recovery ever in a Privacy class action lawsuit, and paid the most Facebook has ever made” to end a private class action lawsuit.

They write:

The level of recovery is particularly notable given that Facebook argued that its users consented to the practices in question and that the class suffered no actual harm. Plaintiffs dispute these characterizations, but acknowledge that they faced enormous risks in this novel and complex case. In addition to the financial relief obtained by the plaintiffs, Facebook has made significant changes to the practices that led to the plaintiffs’ allegations, as set forth in statements made by two Facebook employees with knowledge of the facts.

However, with the $725 million settlement, Meta will again admit no wrongdoing, saying in a statement to Reuters that the settlement was “in the best interests of our community and our shareholders.” In addition, the comparison applies to every Facebook user in the US who, if they want to apply, only gets a few dollars from the pot each.

However, the settlement has yet to be approved, although this is expected at a follow-up hearing on March 2, 2023.

Meta hasn’t heard the last from Cambridge Analytica, however, as Washington DC is personally suing Zuckerberg, claiming he was personally responsible for the mistakes that led to the scandal.