The Cambridge Analytica lawsuit settled for $725 million, a record sum

The long-running Cambridge Analytica lawsuit against Facebook parent company Meta has finally been settled. The social media company agreed to pay Facebook users a total of $725 million for sharing their personal data with the now-bankrupt political consultancy.

The lawyers behind the case described the victory as a “historic” one, saying it was the largest payout ever in a US privacy case…

Background

The case goes all the way back to 2014, when then-political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used a third-party company to collect personal data from Facebook users under the guise of a “personality test”.

The data was intended to be used to profile and target US Facebook users to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Knep was uncovered in 2018 by Guardian and New York Times, revealing that personal data had been collected from around 50 million Facebook users (later found to be 87M). The revelation led to several lawsuits and a #deletefacebook campaign, and even Apple CEO Tim Cook weighed in.

A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Facebook users whose data was intercepted. Facebook previously paid $5B to settle an FTC case against the company, and another $100M to settle a US Securities and Exchange Commission case for misleading Facebook investors about its data usage.

The Cambridge Analytica lawsuit was settled

Reuters reports that the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit has now been settled. Facebook parent Meta has agreed to pay $725 million to settle the case.

The proposed settlement, revealed in a court filing late Thursday, would resolve a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access the data of as many as 87 million users […]

“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” the plaintiffs’ lead attorneys, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a joint statement.

As always with class action lawsuits, don’t plan to buy any winter vacations with a windfall. Lawyers usually take somewhere in the range of 25-30%, and the balance will be shared between up to 87 million people, so each user will likely receive something like five dollars.

Photo: Mike Kononov/Unsplash

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