Meta settles Cambridge Analytica lawsuit
Facebook owner Meta has agreed to pay $725m to settle legal action over a data breach linked to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The long-running dispute accused the social media giant of allowing third parties, including the British firm, to access Facebook users’ personal data.
The proposed sum is the largest in a US data privacy class action, lawyers say.
Meta, which did not admit wrongdoing, said it had “revamped” its approach to privacy over the past three years.
In a statement, the company said settling was “in the best interest of our community and shareholders”.
“We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”
Tech author James Ball told the BBC it was “not a surprise” that Meta has had to agree to a serious pay-out but that it was “not that much” money to the tech giant.
“It’s less than a tenth of what it spent on its efforts to create ‘the metaverse’ last year alone,” he said.
“So Meta probably won’t be too unhappy with this deal, but it does stand as a warning to social media companies that mistakes can prove very costly indeed.”
The suggested settlement, which was disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday, is subject to the approval of a federal judge in San Francisco.
“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a statement.
The complaint was filed on behalf of a large proposed class of Facebook users, whose personal data on the social network was released to third parties without their consent.
The class size is “in the range of 250-280 million” people, according to the ruling document, representing all Facebook users in the US during the “class period” which runs from 24 May, 2007 to 22 December, 2022.
It is not clear how the plaintiffs would claim their share of the settlement. (BBC)