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Meta And Cambridge Analytica Settle 2016 Data Breach Class-Action Lawsuit
Facebook’s parent company Meta has reached a preliminary agreement for a class-action lawsuit related to the 2016 presidential election, reports The Guardian. In 2018, it was discovered that the personal data of 87 million Facebook users was used by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, a company co-founded by Donald Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon.
As per a document filed in a San Francisco court, Meta is said to be submitting a draft “agreement in principle” and has urged a stay of proceedings for 60 days to finalize it. The social media goliath is yet to divulge the amount or terms of the agreement in the lawsuit. In response to AFP, Meta said they have “no comment to share at this time.”
What Happened Back In 2016?
Meta, then Facebook, was slapped with a whopping $5 billion fine by the FTC when the matter came to light. A lawsuit filed last year suggests that the social media company shelled out $4.9 billion to ensure CEO Mark Zuckerberg's name stays out of the FTC complaint.
The Guardian accessed several slides which showed how the social media giant failed to protect the personal data of 87 million users. These slides also showed how the Trump campaign used this data to pull off the biggest political upset in history.
These slides, turned over to the media outlet by a former Cambridge Analytica employee, also showed the list of potential customers, banking on how it shaped the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
What’s The Class-Action Lawsuit?
The lawsuit that Meta has settled isn’t criminal but a Class-Action civil suit. While there are no other details available, apart from the fact that Facebook supplied the personal data of users to Cambridge Analytica.
The political consultancy firm went bankrupt just two months after the story came out about how it harvested the personal data of 87 million users. While the amount that Meta will be paying is still unknown, legal experts believe that the company would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in case it lost in court.
Victims To Receive Compensation
The case has been in court for four years and 87 million current and previous Facebook users will be receiving some money for having their personal data used without consent.
The amount depends on the number of members in the class as some of the users might have taken legal action on their own. It will depend on the amount of settlement, where the lawyers will be taking around 25% to 33% as their fees. Currently, the suit is on hold for 60 days, and more information will come out soon on how much Meta will pay to settle the suit once and for all.