Cambridge Analytica lawsuit settled for $725M, a record sum

By | December 23, 2022

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 combined total of $725M for sharing their personal data with the now-bankrupt political consultancy.

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

Background

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

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

The ploy was uncovered in 2018 by The Guardians other The New York Times, revealing that personal data had been gathered from some 50 million Facebook users (later found to be 87M). The revelation led to multiple 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 captured. Facebook previously paid $5B to resolve an FTC case against the company, and a further $100M to settle a US Securities and Exchange Commission case for misleading Facebook investors about the data use.

Cambridge Analytica lawsuit settled

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

The proposed settlement, which was disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday, would resolve a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access 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 lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, said in a joint statement.

As always with class action lawsuits, don’t plan on buying any winter holidays with your windfall. Lawyers typically take somewhere in the 25-30% range, and the balance will be split between up to 87M people, so each user is likely to receive something like five bucks.

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