The parent company of Facebook, Meta, decided to pay $725 million to resolve a class action lawsuit alleging that the social media juggernaut provided user data to third parties without their permission. The settlement will reach its conclusion once approval has been granted in the courts of Northern California.
Following Facebook’s admission that 87 million users’ data had been inappropriately shared with Cambridge Analytica in 2018, a lawsuit was filed. The political consultancy firm was connected to the 2016 presidential campaign of US President Donald Trump.
A short time after Facebook’s admission, the scope of the legal complaint had grown to include Facebook’s entire practice regarding data-sharing policies. According to the legal firm behind the case (Keller Rohrback L.L.P), the plaintiffs claimed that Facebook had “granted numerous third parties access to their Facebook content and information without their consent, and that Facebook failed to adequately monitor the third parties’ access to, and use of, that information,” according to the law firm representing the plaintiffs.
This has not been Facebook’s first legal battle over privacy. In 2019, Facebook and the FTC reached a $5 billion legal settlement. Around the same time, Facebook additionally consented to pay $100 million to resolve claims that it provided false disclosures about the potential of user data misuse in a dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
With the settlement reached, Meta released the following statement: “We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders. Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program.”
Pending court approval, one less pressure point weighs on Zuckerberg and Co.