(Reuters) — Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ personal information.
The proposed settlement, revealed in a court filing late Thursday, would resolve a long-running lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to access the data of as many as 87 million users.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement the largest ever reached in a personal data class action in the United States and the most Meta has ever paid to settle a class action.
“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,”; lead plaintiffs’ attorneys Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver said in a joint statement.
Meta pleaded not guilty as part of the settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge in San Francisco. The company said in a statement that the settlement was “in the best interest of our community and our shareholders.”
“Over the past three years, we have renewed our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” Meta said.
Cambridge Analytica, now defunct, worked for Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and accessed personal information from millions of Facebook accounts for profiling and targeting purposes.
Cambridge Analytica obtained that information without users’ consent from a researcher who had been allowed by Facebook to distribute an app on its social media network that collected data from millions of its users.