Meta, the parent company of Facebook has agreed to pay $725 million to resolve claims that the largest social media platform in the world enabled Cambridge Analytica, a company that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election, to access the personal data of millions of its users.
In court filings submitted late Thursday, the terms of the settlement struck by Meta Platforms—the holding company for Facebook and Instagram—were revealed. It still has to be approved by a judge in a hearing scheduled for March at a federal court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit developed as a result of 2018 reports that Cambridge Analytica, a company linked to Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, had paid a Facebook app dev for access to the personal data of around 87 million platform users.
Meta Chooses To Settle
Following that, throughout the 2016 election campaign that resulted in Trump’s victory as the 45th president, that information was used to target American voters.
Concern about the findings sparked calls for users to deactivate their Facebook accounts and resulted in a contrite Zuckerberg being interrogated by American politicians during a prominent congressional hearing. Facebook still has approximately 2 billion members globally, including roughly 200 million in the United States and Canada, although its growth has slowed as more people connect and amuse themselves on competing sites like TikTok.
The complaint claimed that the privacy violation demonstrated Facebook’s status as both a social network and “data broker and surveillance corporation” in addition to a class action lawsuit on behalf of Facebook members.
Just a few weeks before the Sept. 20 deadline for depositions of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his longtime chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, the two parties came to a temporary settlement deal. The Menlo Park, California-based corporation said in a statement on Friday that it pursued a settlement because it was in the best interests of its shareholders and community.