Facebook users have less than one month left to apply for their share of a $725 million settlement over the social network’s privacy violations, part of the lengthy fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked the U.S. electoral process and Silicon Valley.
The settlement, signed in December 2022, was the largest class action settlement of its kind, according to Keller Rohrback, the law firm that brought the class action suit. It ended years of litigation over Facebook’s role in improper data sharing with a data consultancy firm used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In all, the Cambridge Analytica scandal cost Meta, Facebook’s parent company, nearly $5.9 billion. Beyond the $725 million settlement, the company paid a record $5 billion settlement to the Federal Trade Commission, alongside a further $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Facebook rebanded itself as Meta in 2021 and settled the suit a year later. In some ways, it’s a much different company than it was during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company has since expanded further into the metaverse with new hardware products like the Quest 3, coming this fall. It’s also revealed its Llama 2 large language artificial intelligence model, Reels to compete with TikTok and, more recently, Threads, which is taking on Twitter.
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The breach forced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress and to take out full-page ads where he apologized for the missteps. “I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Zuckerberg said.
The $725 million settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.
Facebook users can make a claim by visiting Facebookuserprivacysettlement.com and entering their name, address, email address, and confirming they lived in the U.S. and were active on Facebook between the aforementioned dates.
People who had an active U.S. Facebook account between May 2007 and December 2022 have until Aug. 25 to enter a claim. Individual settlement payments haven’t yet been established because payouts depend on how many users submit claims and how long each user maintained a Facebook account.