Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has agreed to pay a whopping $725 million (approx. Rs.5,990 crore) to settle a lawsuit accusing them of sharing personal data with Cambridge Analytica - a political consultancy firm associated with the 2016 campaign of former US President Donald Trump. The proposed settlement is regarded as one of the largest recoveries in data privacy class action and also the highest amount ever paid by Facebook to resolve such a private lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 following Facebook's disclosure that they had harvested information from around 87 million users and shared this with Cambridge Analytica without appropriate consent. Keller Rohrback, the law firm representing plaintiffs, revealed that ‘the proposed Settlement of $725 million is the largest recovery ever achieved in a data privacy class action’ while adding that it is also 'the most Facebook has ever paid to resolve a private class action.'
Facebook stated publicly that they were committed to protecting users’ personal information after news about Cambridge Analytica broke out two years ago and had since been making efforts to prevent similar incidents from occurring again. Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg said he was sorry for ‘not doing enough’ and vowed improvements, including more stringent rules on how developers can access user data along with additional measures such as enabling users greater insight into who can view their posts or profile picture on the platform itself and not through any third-party app or website linked with it.
In addition, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey expressed her approval of the settlement, saying: “This agreement holds them (Meta) accountable for failing their own terms. It will help ensure money goes back into affected consumers' pockets instead of lining lawyers' pockets” while furthering adding: "Massachusetts stands up for consumer rights at home and across our nation."
Although Meta is paying huge amounts in settlements related to this incident, there still remains a potential risk regarding user data security which should be addressed before things get out of hand again.