SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook’s parent company has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social media platform leaked millions of its users’ personal information. be passed on to Cambridge Analytica, a company that supported Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016.
The terms of the settlement reached by Meta Platforms, the holding company of Facebook and Instagram, were disclosed in court documents filed Thursday evening. It will still need to be approved by a judge at a federal court hearing in San Francisco scheduled for March.
The case arose out of 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm linked to Trump political strategist Steve Bannon, paid a Facebook app developer to access the personal information of about 87 million platform users. . This data was then used to target American voters during the 2016 campaign that resulted in Trump’s election as the 45th president.
The uproar over the revelations led to a contrite Zuckerberg being grilled by US lawmakers in a high-profile congressional hearing and prompted people to delete their Facebook accounts. Even though Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and entertain themselves on competing services such as TikTok, the social network still has around 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million in United States and Canada.
The lawsuit, which sought to be certified as a class action lawsuit representing Facebook users, claimed the privacy breach proved Facebook was a “data broker and surveillance company” as well as a social network. .
The two sides reached a temporary settlement agreement in August, just weeks before a September 20 deadline for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg to submit. to depositions.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said in a statement Friday that it is seeking a settlement because it is in the best interest of its community and its shareholders.
“Over the past three years, we have revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” spokeswoman Dina El-Kassaby Luce said. “We look forward to continuing to develop services that people love and trust, with privacy at the forefront.”
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