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Meta to pay $725 million to resolve privacy class-action lawsuit

Facebook's parent company, Meta, agreed to pay $725 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit that alleged the social media behemoth had sold user data without permission.

According to a press release issued on December 23 by Keller Rohrback, the legal firm representing the case's plaintiffs, the proposed deal, subject to a judge's approval, would be the largest privacy class action settlement ever in the United States.

The action was brought up by the Cambridge Analytica controversy and was initially filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 2018. In addition to paying a $100 million fine levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission for making false disclosures about the possibility of user data being misused, Facebook reached a historic $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in July 2019 for privacy violations related to the case.

In an email response to questions about the proposed class-action resolution, a Meta representative stated that "We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders. Over the last three years, we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront."

Meta signed the settlement agreement without denying or acknowledging any wrongdoing.

The social media behemoth "made it difficult and sometimes impossible for users to prevent Facebook from publishing their content and information to third-party applications," the complaint claims.

According to the complaint, the corporation accomplished this through deceptive privacy measures, particularly for third-party applications.

The complaint stated that Facebook "shared information with whitelisted apps and business partners secretly and at its own discretion, driven by its business interests, not users' privacy interests," adding that Facebook "created an expectation of privacy for reasonable users who believed that the privacy controls actually operated as Facebook said they did."

According to the complaint, Facebook did little to guarantee that app developers complied with its platform and privacy standards.

"Facebook did not take any meaningful action to enforce compliance with either its platform policy with third parties or its privacy policy with users; instead, Facebook permitted app developers to harvest and sell users’ information without oversight," the complaint said.



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