By Yaneira Rodriguez
Meta’s Facebook users can now apply for their share of a $725 million dollar settlement. Users should be aware and cautious when using the app.
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook allowed third parties like Cambridge Analytica, a former British political consulting firm, to access about 87 million users’ personal information.
Cambridge Analytica allegedly paid Facebook developers for user data.
The data breach gave Cambridge Analytica access to the social media activity of Facebook users in the United States to build voter profiles and allowed the company to aid former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016.
Meta denies any wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement stating that it was, “in the best interest of our community and shareholders.”
The settlement is one of the biggest claims in data breach history, but Facebook is not new to accusations of privacy infringements.
Late last year, a lawsuit alleged that Meta evaded Apple’s privacy rules. Apple’s new privacy rules made it more difficult for apps to track users’ behavior, but Meta is alleged to have evaded the restrictions by opening web links in an in-app browser, rather than the users default browser.
The payout will be divided among users who apply and qualify to receive part of the settlement. The longer the user has been on the site, the larger the payout.
However the payout is likely to be very small.
Although, $725 million seems like a lot of money, Meta is such a big company that it is only about three days of revenue for them.
Facebook has been accused of putting profit before public good, and this settlement highlights that.
Money and influence can get someone out of taking responsibility for their actions. Facebook refused to take responsibility and opted to pay their way out.
The small amount users will likely receive seems inequitable for the damage they caused.
Data privacy is very important.
A person should be able to determine when and how their data is collected.
If Facebook is regularly collecting data without a user’s consent, then it can easily collect private information from other sites.
Given Facebook’s history on privacy infringements, this may not be the last time users will file and collect from a settlement.
Users have until Aug. 25 to apply by entering their mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and Facebook user names and confirming they were active on Facebook from May 24, 2007 to Dec. 22, 2023.
Users can receive their payment through their bank account, Venmo or other payment methods.