Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms
During the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica was used by the Trump campaign and other Republican politicians to create voter profiles for targeted campaign outreach. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica had been using Facebook profile data for its targeting.
Following the whistleblower report, Meta admitted that data from as many as 87 million users "may have been improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica, which filed for bankruptcy about a month later.
"We didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through about how people could use these tools to do harm," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in Congress in 2018. "We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is and that was a huge mistake."
Along with U.S. elections, Wylie also says that profile data was utilized to support the Brexit referendum in 2019.
Meta did not admit to any wrongdoing as a part of this settlement, instead arguing that the users involved had consented to their information being shared and that no actual damage was done as a result of the alleged data exposure.
According to plaintiffs' representation, the number of eligible claimants could be as high as 280 million people, with the payment amount depending on how many people file a claim. The settlement is scheduled for a final hearing before a judge on March 2, 2023.
"The amount of the recovery is particularly striking given that Facebook argued that its users consented to the practices at issue, and that the class suffered no actual damages," the attorneys wrote in a court filing.
After the social media platform first discovered the leak in 2015, Facebook claims that it was told all of the information was deleted by all parties, but it also admitted those promises may not have been kept. Zuckerberg told lawmakers in 2018 that Facebook hadn't done enough "to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people's information."