Facebook’s parent company Meta has agreed a $725 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit related to the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.
First reported by Reuters earlier today, the deal follows nearly four months after news first emerged that Meta had proposed a settlement in the Northern District of California where the suit was first filed some four years ago. In the intervening years, Meta has pushed back against the lawsuit, which consolidated complaints from multiple Facebook users, arguing that those who voluntarily signed up to the social network should have no real expectations of privacy — an assertion that the judge overseeing the case in 2019 called “so wrong.”
The scandal in question — one of many to hit the world of Facebook through the years — relates to the now-defunct U.K. political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica that funnelled data from tens of millions of Facebook users through a survey app called MyDigitalLife, with a view toward influencing voters’ behavior using targeted ads. The privacy brouhaha that followed led to various fines and settlements, with Meta (then called Facebook) paying $5 billion as part of a deal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for misleading investors, and a modest £500,000 ($600,000) to the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office.
It’s also worth noting that while the genesis of this class-action lawsuit was Cambridge Analytica, it expanded to include other third-parties that may have improperly used Facebook user data.
While Meta cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously testified before Congress about the scandal, his responses proved somewhat evasive and aside from a carefully controlled testimony in front of the EU Parliament shortly after, the upper echelon at Meta have not had to face any more direct questioning on the matter. However, with this impending lawsuit,