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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, agreed to pay $725 million Thursday to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the social media platform of allowing third parties like British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access user data without consent.
The social media giant resolved the four-year lawsuit after it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica had amassed data on 87 million Facebook users.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement “the largest recovery ever achieved in a data privacy class action and the most Facebook has ever paid to resolve a private class action,” NBC News reported.
“This historic settlement will provide meaningful relief to the class in this complex and novel privacy case,” Derek Loeser and Lesley Weaver, the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, said in a joint statement to Reuters.
Plaintiffs accused Facebook of granting “numerous third parties access to their Facebook content and information without their consent, and that Facebook failed to adequately monitor the third parties’ access to, and use of, that information,” according to the law firm.
Lawyers estimated that between 250 and 280 million people could be eligible for payments as part of the class action settlement, CNN reported.
Meta reportedly did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. However, a spokesperson said the company pursued resolving the lawsuit as it was in the “best interest” of its community and shareholders.
“Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront,” Meta spokesperson Dina Luce said in a statement to CNN.
Judges in the Northern District of California will now have to approve the settlement.
Cambridge Analytica has since ceased operations after allegedly gaining personal information from millions of Facebook accounts without consent for voter profiling and targeting purposes.
Facebook previously agreed to a $5 billion privacy settlement in 2019 with the US Federal Trade Commission and a $100 million settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that the company misled investors about the risks of misusing user data.