Meta Agrees to Pay $725M in Cambridge Analytica Lawsuit Settlement

The Observer of London and The Guardian got many records from the data company Cambridge Analytica in March. 

This company is mainly run by the right-wing donor Robert Mercer. 

The documents showed that the company’s Stephen K. Bannon, a close friend of Trump’s, was on the board.

They got Facebook data without permission to make voter profiles. 

Because the news started, an investigation in Cambridge and Facebook had its worst crisis.

Data collection and Elections testing:

In 2014, contractors and employees of Cambridge Analytica got into the private Facebook data of tens of millions of users.

So, they could sell psychological profiles of American voters to political campaigns. 

It is the most significant known Facebook data leak.

Many details were revealed about Cambridge’s hiring of European and Canadian individuals for campaigns.

Perhaps violating American election law, and the warnings it received from its counsel, Laurence Levy. 

It also found that some unprocessed data was still around but needed to be under Facebook’s control.

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Affected People:

Cambridge stole information from more than 50 million Facebook users.

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technical officer, gave a new estimate of how many users would be affected by a business announcement about new privacy features: up to 87 million, with most of them in the U.S.

Image courtesy by Reuters

Cambridge Analytica Lawsuit:

The long-running dispute will be resolved by the tentative agreement, which was publicly disclosed in a court filing late on Thursday. 

The dispute was started by allegations that Facebook gave Cambridge Analytica access to the data of up to 87 million users in 2018.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs said that the proposed payment was the highest ever negotiated in a U.S. data privacy class action and the most Meta has ever paid to settle a class action case.

The lead plaintiffs’ lawyers, Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver said in a joint statement, “This unprecedented settlement will help the class with this complicated and unusual privacy problem in a meaningful way.”

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Trump Connection to Meta’s Lawsuit:

While Facebook faltered, the relationship between Cambridge Analytica and John Bolton, the Republican hawk selected as President Trump’s national security adviser. 

The technology was first extensively used in an American election in 2014, when Cambridge delivered early versions of its Facebook-derived profiles to Mr. Bolton’s “super PAC,” according to The Times.

To target and profile voters, the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica used the data from millions of Facebook accounts, which helped Donald Trump run a successful presidential campaign in 2016.

Cambridge Analytica acquired the information from a researcher who was granted authorization by Facebook to deploy an app on its social media network to gather information from millions of its users without the consumers’ consent.

Image courtesy by Lemnde

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Russia link:

It’s said that officials from the oil company Lukoil, which has ties to the Kremlin, spoke with people from Cambridge Analytica.

Also British subsidiary, the SCL Group, while Cambridge was making its Facebook-based profiles. 

Two former company employees say that Lukoil was interested in how data was used to target American voters. 

SCL and Lukoil say that the oil company never became a customer and that the talks were not political.

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Meta’s Response:

As part of the settlement, Meta did not say that it had done anything wrong. 

The settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco. 

In a statement, the company said that settling was “in the best interest of our shareholders and community.” 

According to Meta, “We’ve changed the way we think about privacy and put in place a comprehensive privacy program across the past three years.”

Image courtesy of  Frank thorp

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Lawsuits Settlement:

There have been several court cases and government investigations into how the company handles privacy. 

In a well-known U.S. congressional hearing, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, was questioned by lawmakers.

The parent company of Facebook has agreed to pay $725 million to settle claims that the largest social media platform in the world allowed Cambridge Analytica. 

In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to end an investigation into its privacy practices with the Federal Trade Commission and $100 million to settle claims that it misled investors about how it used user data.

The settlement, announced on Thursday, was in response to Facebook users’ claims that the company illegally got a lot of their personal information from app developers and business partners without their permission.

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