Facebook’s parent company has reached an interim settlement in a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social networking service allowed millions of its users’ personal information to be passed to Cambridge Analytica, a company that has backed Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign in 2016.
The terms of the settlement reached by Meta Platforms, the holding company of Facebook and Instagram, were not disclosed in court documents filed Friday evening. The filing in federal court in San Francisco requested a 60-day stay of action while attorneys finalize the settlement. This timeline suggested that further details could be released by the end of October.
The deal was reached just weeks before a September 20 deadline for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its longtime chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to submit depositions during the final stages of gathering evidence before trial, according to court documents. .
Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in 2004 while a student at Harvard University, could have been impeached for up to six hours. Sandberg, who is stepping down as chief operating officer after a 14-year term, could have been questioned for up to five hours.
The case arose out of 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm linked to Trump political strategist Stephen Bannon, paid a Facebook app developer to access the personal information of about 87 million Facebook users. This data was then used to target American voters during the 2016 campaign that resulted in Trump’s election as the 45th president.
The uproar that led to a contrite Zuckerberg was grilled by lawmakers in a high-profile congressional hearing and prompted people to delete their Facebook accounts. Even though Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and entertain themselves on competing services such as TikTok, the social network still has around 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million in United States and Canada.
The lawsuit, which sought to be certified as a class action lawsuit representing Facebook users, claimed the privacy breach proved that Facebook was a ‘data broker and surveillance company’, as well as a social network. .
– The Associated Press