Facebook Settles Privacy Class Action for $725 Million

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Saw this News Article in the Hacker News. It is really scary out there sometimes. This whole thing blows my mind. I thought I would share.

The Story

So here is the story. According to a Christmas Eve Reuters News Report Facebook owner Meta Platforms has agreed to pay a whopping $725 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information.

The proposed settlement, which was disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday, December 22, 2022, would resolve a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access data of as many as 87 million users.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement the largest to ever be achieved in a U.S. data privacy class action and the most that Meta i.e. Facebook has ever paid to resolve a class action lawsuit.

According to Reuters, Facebook did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which is subject to the approval of a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement settling was “in the best interest of our community and shareholders.”

What’s the Big Deal

According to Reuters, Cambridge Analytica is now defunct. Cambridge Analytica worked for Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 and gained access to the personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for the purposes of voter profiling and targeting.

Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without users’ consent from a researcher who had been allowed by Facebook to deploy an app on its social media network that harvested data from millions of its users.

The users’ lawyers alleged that Facebook misled them into thinking they could keep control over personal data, when in fact it let thousands of preferred outsiders gain access. Facebook argued its users have no legitimate privacy interest in information they shared with friends on social media. 

The Settlement?

Down with the Bourgeoisie… make ’em pay right? Not Really…

Even though you are affected. Don’t worry about retiring because your share of that $725 Million needs to be spread over possibly 250 to 280 million Facebook users, according to the court filing. But according to Reuters, how much an individual user receives will depend on how many people submit valid claims for a share of the settlement.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they plan to ask the judge to award them up to 25% of the settlement as attorneys’ fees, equaling about $181 million. End-User Payout comes out to about 72 Cents per person.

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