Meta Agrees to Record-Breaking Settlement in Data Privacy Lawsuit

by John Hugh DeMastri

 

Facebook parent Meta signed on to a $725 million settlement to potentially close out a class-action lawsuit over the sharing of user data with third parties, such as the Trump-aligned campaign consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, according to a Thursday court filing.

The case centers around allegations that the company shared users’ data with third parties without their consent, something the plaintiffs’ lawyers say has been significantly cut back since litigation began, according to the filing. The scandal first broke in 2018, after it was revealed that Facebook had shared roughly 87 million users’ data with Cambridge Analytica via a personality quiz, according to The Verge.

“We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders,” Meta spokesperson Dina Luce said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”

The settlement is the largest ever paid-out to users in a class-action lawsuit concerning data privacy, the plaintiffs allege in the filing. Considering the “striking” size of the filing, the plaintiffs believe it is not worth taking the risk of going to trial, in part because it would be difficult to prove damages considering that Facebook is and remains a free service.

The scandal previously led to Facebook paying a combined $5.1 billion to settle lawsuits with the federal government in 2019, according to Reuters. State level investigations are ongoing and a judge still needs to approve Thursday’s settlement.

“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver of Keller Rohrback LLP, said in a joint statement Thursday. “We have reached this point only because our teams of lawyers and professionals have dedicated years of hard work to this case. We are also immensely thankful to the Court and the mediators.”

Loeser and Weaver did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment. Cambridge Analytica ceased operation in 2018.

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John Hugh DeMastri is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Mark Zuckerberg” by Anthony Quintano. CC BY 2.0. Photo “Sheryl Sandberg” by World Economic Forum. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Carol M. Highsmith.

 

 

 


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