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Facebook Parent Meta to Settle Cambridge Analytica Lawsuit

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

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.