In August of 2023, Facebook users have the opportunity to apply for a share of the $725 million settlement payout that was ordered following 2018’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
This incident revealed that 87 million users had their information inappropriately shared with the data firm, contrary to what Facebook originally claimed – that only 270,000 were affected.
The whistleblower who exposed this discrepancy between initial claims and actual numbers reported that 50 million people were actually affected by the breach. Consequently, Facebook took action against Cambridge Analytica by banning them from using its platform.
NBC News reports that this entire incident ended up costing Meta nearly $5.9 billion; $725 million in the user settlement and a record-breaking amount to both The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
The payment amounts have yet to be determined as they will depend on how many people submit claims and how long each user maintained their account for during May 2007 – December 2022 when accounts must have been active or deleted in order to qualify.
As part of this settlement agreement, Mark Zuckerberg gave testimony before Congress where he apologized publicly for not taking more action at the time:
“I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” said Zuckerberg during his statement before Congress in 2018.
However, despite his apology and attempts at damage control, his testimony was met with online criticism from many comparing him to a robotic figure due to certain movements and drinking habits during his testimony.
It is important to note that while Meta has paid out massive sums of money due to this scandal, it does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by either Facebook or Meta themselves in any way according to official documents pertaining to this case.
As reported by NBC News, the whole ordeal cost Meta nearly $5.9 billion; $725 million in the user settlement and a record $5 billion to the FTC, plus another $100 million to the SEC.
Facebook users who had an active Facebook account in the United States between May 2007 and December 2022 have until August 25, 2023, to file a claim.
Users can visit FacebookUserPrivacySettlement.com and apply using their name, address, email address, and answering whether they have an active or deleted account that was used between the aforementioned dates.