Facebook’s corporate parent reached a tentative settlement in a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social networking service allowed millions of its users’ personal data to be provided to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that supported Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign. Trump in 2016.
Terms of the settlement reached by Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, were not disclosed in court documents filed late Friday. Documents filed in federal court in San Francisco requested a 60-day stay of the action while attorneys finalize the settlement. That timeline indicated that more details could be revealed in late October.
The deal was reached just weeks before a Sept. 20 deadline for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to testify during the final phases of pretrial evidence gathering, according to documents. judicial.
Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in 2004 when he was a student at Harvard University, could have had to testify for up to six hours. Sandberg, who is stepping down as chief operating officer after 14 years, could have been questioned for up to five hours.
The case grew out of revelations in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica — a company linked to Trump political strategist Stephen Bannon — had paid a Facebook app developer to gain access to the personal information of some 87 million Facebook users. Facebook. That data was later used to target American voters during the 2016 campaign, which culminated in Trump being elected as the 45th president.
The ensuing scandal saw Zuckerberg questioned by lawmakers during a high-profile congressional hearing and prompted calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts. Although Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and be entertained by rival services like TikTok, the social network still has around 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million in the United States and Canada. .
The lawsuit, which sought to be certified as a class action lawsuit on behalf of all Facebook users, claimed that the privacy violation demonstrated that Facebook, in addition to being a social network, is a “data broker and surveillance company.”