Meta has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit over the illegal transfer of Facebook user data to third parties, including the consulting company Cambridge Analytica. This is reported by Reuters.
The out-of-court settlement will end the litigation that began in 2018, when it became known that the British firm Cambridge Analytica, specializing in political consulting, had access to the data of 87 million Facebook users. Later, the lawsuit expanded to other cases of transferring user information to third parties.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers called the proposed amount the largest in the history of the settlement of class actions in the field of data privacy and the maximum payment that Meta has ever paid to resolve a class action.
At the same time, the company itself, within the framework of the settlement agreement, did not recognize the fact of violations and stated that it agreed to settle the claim “in the interests of the community and shareholders.” Bloomberg writes that the decision was made because of the company’s fears that it would have to pay even more compensation if it loses the case.
In March 2018, British and American media published investigations about Cambridge Analytica, which claimed that the firm had gained access to the data of millions of Facebook users in order to use them in political advertising. Later, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the data leak and announced a number of large-scale changes concerning the privacy of user data.
In July 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook five billion dollars due to user data leaks.