In a major development for Facebook users, there is less than one month left to apply for their portion of a massive $725 million settlement related to the social network’s privacy violations. This settlement is a significant consequence of the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, which shook the U.S. electoral process and Silicon Valley. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the settlement, the impact of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and how Facebook, now known as Meta, has evolved since then.
The $725 million settlement, signed in December 2022, is the largest class action settlement of its kind. According to Keller Rohrback, the law firm that brought the class action suit against Facebook, it put an end to years of litigation regarding Facebook’s involvement in improper data sharing with a data consultancy firm used during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal had far-reaching consequences for Meta, Facebook’s parent company. It resulted in a staggering cost of nearly $5.9 billion. Apart from the $725 million settlement, Meta paid a record $5 billion settlement to the Federal Trade Commission, as well as an additional $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 2021, Facebook underwent a rebranding and became Meta. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company has undergone significant changes. It expanded its ventures into the metaverse with innovative hardware products like the Quest 3, which is set to be released in the upcoming fall. Meta also unveiled its powerful Llama 2 large language artificial intelligence model and introduced Reels to compete with TikTok. More recently, they launched Threads, a platform aimed at challenging Twitter.
The breach and its consequences compelled Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to testify before Congress. In a show of responsibility, he issued full-page ads apologizing for the mishandling of the situation. Zuckerberg expressed regret, stating, “I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Users affected by the privacy violations can make a claim by visiting Facebookuserprivacysettlement.com. To be eligible, they need to provide their name, address, email address, and confirm that they lived in the U.S. and were active on Facebook between May 2007 and December 2022. The deadline for submitting a claim is Aug. 25. The individual settlement payments are yet to be determined, as they depend on the number of users who submit claims and the duration of their Facebook account usage.
The $725 million settlement serves as a significant step towards addressing the repercussions of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and compensating the affected Facebook users. As Meta continues to evolve and expand its reach, it remains crucial for the company to uphold its commitment to user privacy and data protection.