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Facebook parent company Meta has agreed to pay a $725 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that accused the social media giant of allowing third parties like Cambridge Analytica to access users’ personal data.

The settlement would be the conclusion to a long-winding saga of revelations that showed that Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to access the user data of its nearly 100 million users.

The third-party firm worked for former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. The collection of user data allowed the firm to target advertising to Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain this data without the consent of users via an app that harvested user data.

“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” said Lesley Weaver and Derek Loeser, the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, in a joint statement as reported by Reuters.

“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,” a Meta spokesperson told CNBC.


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The company said that the settlement was “in the best interest of our community and shareholders” and that they’ve improved upon privacy in recent years: “Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program.”

Facebook has previously been willing to pay out large sums of money to compensate for its lack of privacy protections. In 2019, the company paid a $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a $100 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Despite these large settlements, Meta is still not out of hot water. There are ongoing investigations by multiple state attorney generals as well as a lawsuit launched by the attorney general of Washington, D.C.

As Meta continues to face assaults on every side, their stock price has suffered in the interim. The company has lost a whopping 66 percent of its stock’s value from its 52-week high as the company’s virtual reality revamp has failed and investigations continue.

This settlement is just one step in the ongoing process of Facebook atoning for misusing the data of its customers and it will hopefully send a message to other social media companies to make privacy a top priority.

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