Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has agreed to pay out 725 million USD to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging data theft. According to the case, the social media giant allowed third-party access to user data without their consent.
The settlement covers Facebook users between the dates of May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022. This lawsuit was consolidated from several other lawsuits that alleged similar misconduct by Facebook.
Facebook Class-Action Lawsuit Explained
The consolidated lawsuits alleged that Facebook allowed unauthorized access to third-parties who used the data of users and their friends for personal gain.
Furthermore, it alleged that the biggest online social network did not monitor or enforce its rules on third-parties who had access to user data, leading to privacy concerns for millions of users.
The Cambridge Analytica Scandal
One of the major issues from the consolidated lawsuits was the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The now-defunct data analytics firm accessed the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent in 2018. The private data included information on the users’ political affiliations and views.
Cambridge Analytica allegedly used this data to somehow influence the 2016 US Presidential Election. The controversial elections saw American Businessman Donald Trump pulling off a historic upset by defeating Hilary Clinton to become president.
Meta Denies any Wrongdoing
While settling the lawsuits, Meta still denied allowing any third-party access to user data. However, the company agreed to pay out the settlement amount, which also covers various legal and administrative fees. The amount each user receives will depend on the number of eligible claims submitted.
How to Claim the Money?
Facebook users eligible for a payout can file their claims by August 25, 2023. Those who object to the settlement and instead wish to file a lawsuit against Meta for these issues, have to do so before July 26, 2023.
If users fail to file either a claim or objection by this deadline then they will forfeit their right to the settlement and further legal action.
How will it Impact Meta?
While the settlement amount may seem big, it represents just a fraction of Meta’s overall revenue. However, Facebook class-action lawsuit can hurt Meta in other ways.
Firstly it can majorly affect the company’s reputation and the trust it may have built over the years. Such a blow can pose long-term challenges for the company. Secondly, the settlement highlights the ongoing concerns around user data privacy and the need for greater transparency and accountability from tech giants.