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Meta consents to pay $725 million to resolve the class action lawsuit involving Cambridge Analytica

Following revelations in 2018 that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, exchanged user data with consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica for use in political advertising, Meta has agreed to pay $725 million to resolve a class action lawsuit that had been pending for years.

Meta is not admitting guilt in the settlement, but it still has to be authorised by federal courts in California’s Northern District. The $725 million fee is the most ever in a data privacy class action case, and the greatest amount Facebook has ever spent to settle a class action lawsuit, according to the settlement paperwork.

The case was first sparked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed how Facebook had exchanged data on around 87 million users (acquired through a personality quiz app called “This Is Your Digital Life”) with the consulting business in question. The incident received a lot of attention because of Cambridge Analytica’s connection to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and because of the information it disclosed about Facebook’s negligent attitude to user privacy. Additional cases in which Facebook improperly shared user data with third parties were added to the class action complaint.

In a news release, Keller Rohrback LLP, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, stated, “This historic settlement will give real relief to the class in this complicated and unusual privacy dispute.”

A representative for Meta said in reaction to the announcement, “We sought a resolution since it’s in the best interest of our community and stockholders.” In the last three years, we have completely rethought our privacy policies and procedures and created a new, comprehensive privacy programme.

The settlement states that after the 2018 controversy, Meta has “meaningfully modified” its data-sharing methods and no longer provides third parties with access to the same data about users.