Meta Pays $90M to End User Privacy Lawsuit

Meta agreed to pay $90 million to settle a 10-year-old privacy lawsuit accusing Meta of tracking Facebook users’…

On Monday night, the court filed a preliminary settlement with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, which requires the approval of a judge. The agreement also requires Meta to delete data it improperly collects.

Users allege that Meta uses a plug-in to store cookies that track users when they visit external sites with Facebook “Like” buttons, violating federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws. Meta then allegedly compiled users’ browsing history into profiles, which were then sold to advertisers.

The case was dismissed in June 2017, but was reopened in April 2020 by a federal appeals court, which said users could try to prove the company had unfairly profited and violated their privacy. Meta then tried unsuccessfully to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.

The company denies wrongdoing, but settled to avoid litigation costs and risks, the settlement documents show. Drew Pusateri, a spokesman for Meta, said: “The settlement is in the best interests of our community and shareholders, and we are pleased to have resolved this issue.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys plan to receive up to $26.1 million in attorney’s fees from the settlement fund, or 29 percent. The lawsuit began in February 2012.

Facebook also faces other privacy complaints. In July 2019, the company agreed to strengthen privacy protections and pay a $5 billion fine in a FTC settlement. On Monday, the Texas attorney general sued Meta, alleging the company collected facial recognition data without users’ permission.

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Meta Pays $90M to End User Privacy Lawsuit - /10

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Meta agreed to pay $90 million to settle a 10-year-old privacy lawsuit accusing Meta of tracking Facebook users'...

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