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Facebook (Meta) to settle Cambridge Analytica data leak for $725M

Facebook (Meta) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle the class-action lawsuit filed in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

Facebook (Meta) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

According to Reuters, the lawyers for the plaintiffs defined the proposed settlement as the largest to ever be achieved in a U.S. data privacy class action.

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

The proposed settlement has to be approved by a federal judge in the San Francisco division of the U.S. District Court.

“Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” reads a statement issued by Meta.

In the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, the company allowed to access to the personal data of around 87 million Facebook users without their explicit consent.

The way Facebook managed user data violated a 2011 privacy settlement with the FTC. At the time, Facebook was accused of deceiving people about how the social network giant handled their data. An FTC settlement obliged the company to review its privacy practices. In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay a $5 Billion fine to settle the investigation conducted by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the Cambridge Analytica scandal

social media Facebook Cambridge Analytica

In March 2018, it was publicly revealed that a team of academics had collected a huge amount of user data and shared the information with Cambridge Analytica, which was a commercial data analytics company that allegedly used it to target US voters in the 2016 Presidential election.

The researchers used an app developed by the University of Cambridge psychology lecturer Dr. Aleksandr Kogan to collect user data.

The app named “thisisyourdigitallife” is available to users since 2014, it was provided by Global Science Research (GSR) and asked users to take an online survey for $1 or $2. The app requested access to the user’s profile information, and over 270,000 users gave the app permission to use their personal details for academic research.

The app is a powerful tool to profile users by harvesting information on their network of contacts, its code allowed it to collect data from over 87 million users.

Back to the $725 million settlement, the Reuters reported that the plaintiffs plan to ask the judge to award them up to 25% of the settlement as attorneys’ fees, roughly $181 million.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Meta)

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