Meta Agrees $725m Settlement for Cambridge Analytica Privacy Breach

December 23, 2022
Meta Cambridge Analytica

By Adedapo Adesanya

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a long-running lawsuit that accused the social network of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, of accessing users’ private data.

The proposed settlement is the largest recovery ever achieved in a data privacy class action, and the most Facebook has ever paid to resolve a private class action.

However, Facebook has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which must still be approved by a judge in the San Francisco division in the US District Court.

In August, Facebook reached a preliminary agreement, although the amount and terms of the settlement were not then announced.

The lawsuit was initiated in 2018 when Facebook users accused the social network of violating privacy rules by sharing their data with third parties that, included the British firm Cambridge Analytica, which had been linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Cambridge Analytica, which has since shut down, then collected and exploited the personal data of 87 million Facebook users without their consent, the lawsuit alleged.

That information was allegedly used to develop software to steer US voters in favour of the former US President.

Facebook has since removed access to its data from thousands of apps suspected of abusing it, restricted the amount of information available to developers, and made it easier for users to calibrate restrictions on personal data sharing.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted global outrage and a flurry of regulators worldwide to scrutinise Facebook’s data practices.

After the revelations, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened a probe into Facebook over concerns that the social media firm had violated the terms of a previous agreement with the agency, which required it to give users clear notifications when their data was being shared with third parties.

Federal authorities also fined Facebook $5 billion in 2019 for misleading its users and imposed independent oversight of its personal data management.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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