Meta Ordered To Pay $725 Million For Sharing Users Data With Cambridge Analytica

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | Dec 27, 2022 07:24 am PST

In order to resolve a continued class-action lawsuit started in 2018, Meta, the leading owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other social media sites, has agreed to pay $725 million.

The legal issue arose in response to disclosures that the social media leader had permitted Cambridge Analytica and other third-party apps to access users’ personal information for political advertising without their consent.

The planned settlement, which was initially reported by Reuters last week, is the most recent fine that the corporation has had to pay as a result of numerous privacy-related incidents over the years. It still needs to be approved by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court’s San Francisco division.

It’s important to note that Facebook argued users have no genuine privacy interest found in information that is made available to friends on social media in its September 2019 attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed.

How Quiz App Was Used to Illegally Obtain User Data

The personality quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife,” had given access to users’ public profiles, dates of birth, locations, page likes, genders, and messages (in some circumstances). To be gathered for creating psychographic profiles was at the center of the data harvesting scandal that surfaced in March 2018.

The software was created in 2013 in partnership with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting company owned by SCL Group, by academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his organization Global Science Research (GSR).

While it is estimated that 300,000 people completed the psychological test, the software secretly collected the personal information of users who downloaded it as well as their Facebook friends without their knowledge, resulting in a dataset of 87 million profiles.

Facebook subsequently banned “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2015 for violating its platform policies, and the company also sent legal notices to GSR and Cambridge Analytica requesting the removal of the fraudulently obtained data.

The consulting firm, which is now defunct, exploited the personal data from millions of Facebook accounts for purposes of voter profiling and targeting prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but it later emerged that the unlawful data had never actually been deleted.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the time stated, “Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Kogan had a breach of breach between them.” However, there was also a breach of confidence between Facebook and the individuals who entrusted us with their data and relied on us to keep it safe.

After the bombshell disclosure intensified official scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, the corporation struck a much-needed settlement with Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S Securities and U.K Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2019.

In the same year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation into Meta’s privacy practices in order to settle allegations that the company hindered users’ ability to regulate the privacy of their personal information. Meta was also hit with a record-breaking $5 billion punishment.

Since then, Meta has taken steps to limit third parties access to user information while refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing in connection with the improper data-sharing practice.

The internet giant also unveiled a feature called Off-Facebook Activity that allows users to “see a summary of the apps and websites that provide us information about your activity, and erase this information from your account if you desire to.”

Cambridge Analytica Privacy Lawsuit, Zuckerberg Questioned

Meta stated in a court document filed in August that the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit had been resolved, but no details were provided at the time. According to a document made a month earlier, plaintiffs’ attorneys might interrogate Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg for up to six hours. Sheryl Sandberg, a former chief operating officer, was also expected to be called to testify, according to the same document.

Facebook contended that its policies were revealed in user agreements. Additionally, it has stated that anyone disclosing personal information on a social network shouldn’t expect to maintain their privacy. The case In Re Facebook Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, 18-MD-02843, United States District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

How Facebook Uses Your Data And Spies On You

Facebook was given the authorization to capture a lot of user data using this “like” button plug-in. In typical Facebook fashion, the business gathered cookies, which are essentially a trail of user activity on Facebook. This gave the business access to information about the users of the website were visiting, the products they were viewing and purchasing, and any other interactions they may have had with the website.

Facebook will always try its best to track you down using GPS and determine precisely what you are doing there. Because they are aware of your particular interests, they are able to provide you with customized advertising.

In 2018, it was discovered that Facebook had classified certain Russian users as potentially interested in committing treason against their government. Of course, this is not a coincidence, and Facebook has no reason to be interested in such data. Of course, governments from all across the world are also intrigued by the potential that Facebook presents.

In addition, Facebook has access to payment processor data, meaning it can virtually track every purchase you make. They will quickly know the specific things you typically purchase as well as your normal monthly spending amount. You are therefore monitored both online and through your transactions.

Facebook listens in on your microphone-enabled chats and other discussions, and it’s very interested in your contacts. You will be prompted to provide permission for Facebook to use your contact list as soon as you join up, and any new contacts will be added automatically.

This system is owned by numerous significant corporations and governments, but Facebook likely has the greatest face recognition of all of them. Of course, it also constitutes some degree of privacy invasion, especially in light of the fact that all data has been aggregated.

Facebook sells or shares your information with big businesses, primarily those that produce tablets, laptops, and smartphones, like Apple, Huawei, Samsung, Microsoft, Lenovo, Oppo, and Blackberry. You know, there are even Chinese businesses that basically have no restrictions on who they can share your data with.

Blocking your account for no particular activity is one of the final techniques to obtain more information from you. You must first present your driver’s license, a copy of your passport, or other personal documents to reopen your account. Make sure that you do not publish any violent or unlawful messages if you want to stop them from doing this to you.


A long-running case that alleged Facebook improperly shared user data with the research firm Cambridge Analytica has been settled for $725 million by Meta Platforms Inc. The plaintiffs claimed in a late Thursday court stated that it was “the highest recovery ever attained in a data privacy class action and the most Facebook has ever paid to end a private class action.” Up to 280 million Facebook users are covered by the settlement, which means that $725 million is going to be spread awfully thin after the plaintiffs’ attorneys take their 25 percent cut.

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