Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Meta Quest VR headsets, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit accusing the company of allowing Cambridge Analytica to access personal user data without consent.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal dates back to 2018, when former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie revealed to The Guardian and The New York Times that the UK-based company was scraping extensive data from Facebook without users’ explicit consent had.
The scandal sparked investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office fined Facebook £500,000 (this was before the GDPR came into force, which allows for significantly higher fines) and the US Federal Trade Commission fined it of 5 billion dollars.
A separate class action lawsuit was also filed in the United States, finally ending the affair.
The settlement is reportedly the largest ever reached in a US privacy class-action lawsuit and the largest amount Meta has ever paid to settle a class-action lawsuit.
“This historic settlement will bring significant relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” attorneys Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver said in a joint statement.
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