Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused it of allowing third parties, such as Cambridge Analytica, to access private user information and misleading users about its privacy practices. The lawsuit began four years ago, after Facebook disclosed that the private information of up to 87 million users had been obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with the Trump campaign.
The lawsuit involved obtaining millions of pages of documents from Facebook and other parties, as well as hundreds of hours of depositions from current and former Facebook employees. The proposed settlement, which is pending approval from a judge in March, would end the legal battle and is estimated to make 250-280 million people eligible for payments as part of the class action settlement.
While Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, the users bringing the suit pointed to changes that Facebook has made since the Cambridge Analytica breach, including restricting third-party access to user data and improving communication with users about data collection and sharing. The Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted a global outcry and led to investigations and lawsuits, including a $5 billion privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission and a $100 million settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for Facebook in 2019.