March 24, 2023

Facebook’s parent company has reached a preliminary settlement over a lawsuit accusing the world’s largest social networking service of allowing the personal information of millions of users to be provided to Cambridge Analytica, which backed Donald Trump’s 2016 win Presidential campaign.

Terms of the settlement reached by Facebook and Instagram’s holding company Meta Platforms were not disclosed in court documents filed late Friday. San Francisco federal court filings call for a 60-day stay of litigation while attorneys eventually reach a settlement. The timeline suggests that more details may be revealed by late October.

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Facebook's meta logo

Facebook’s Meta logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on October 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File/AP Newsroom)

According to court documents, the agreement was reached just weeks before a Sept. 20 deadline in which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg gathered in pretrial evidence. The final stage of submitting testimony. .

Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in 2004 as a Harvard student, could be ousted for up to six hours. Sandberg, who is stepping down as chief operating officer after 14 years in office, could be questioned for up to five hours.

The case stemmed from revelations in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica, a company linked to Trump political strategist Stephen Bannon, had paid Facebook app developers to access the personal information of about 87 million Facebook users. That data was then used to target US voters during the 2016 campaign that culminated in Trump’s election as the 45th president.

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Zuckerberg, who caused an uproar, was grilled by lawmakers at a high-profile congressional hearing and prompted calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts. While Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and entertain on rival services like TikTok, the social network still has about 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million in the U.S. and Canada.

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The lawsuit has been seeking what will prove to be a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Facebook users, claiming the privacy breach proves Facebook is a “data broker and surveillance company” and a social network.

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