Facebook Parent Meta to Settle Cambridge Analytica Lawsuit

The privacy suit stems from a scandal involving Facebook user data and targeted political ads.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
Expertise Wordsmithery. Credentials
  • Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
Edward Moyer
2 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook parent company Meta has agreed to settle a privacy lawsuit tied to 2018's headline-grabbing Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to court papers filed Friday.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, ex-Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and current COO Javier Olivan had been scheduled to provide testimony in the case sometime during the next month.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted following news that the now-defunct consultancy may have misused the data of nearly 90 million Facebook users for targeted political ads during the UK's Brexit referendum campaign and the 2016 US presidential election. The consultancy worked on Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Read more: Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and data mining: What you need to know

The scandal led to Zuckerberg testifying before Congress about Facebook's privacy policies. It also led to a $5 billion fine from the US Federal Trade Commission, part of a settlement between Facebook and the agency over an FTC investigation into the matter.

Under the FTC settlement, Facebook agreed to create an independent privacy committee, Zuckerberg was required to certify the company's behavior, and the social network was ordered to build more privacy protections into its platforms.

Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, which shut down in 2018, have denied any wrongdoing.

Friday's filing didn't provide financial or other details about the settlement of the privacy lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Facebook users. The suit sought class-action status and asked for damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs, as well as injunctive relief.

Emailed for additional information on Saturday, neither Meta nor the plaintiffs had a comment.

The parties have jointly asked the court for a 60-day stay while they finalize a written settlement agreement.