Facebook has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a decade-old privacy lawsuit that accused it of tracking users’ Internet activities even after users logged out.
A preliminary settlement proposal was filed in US District Court in San Jose, California, requiring a judge’s approval. The settlement also mandates Facebook has to delete data it improperly collected along with agreed to pay to settle.
Users accused the Meta Platforms team of violating federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws by using plug-ins to keep cookies. They tracked when users visited external websites that contained Facebook “like” buttons. Facebook then allegedly collected users’ browsing histories into profiles sold to advertisers.
The case had been discharged in June 2017 but returned to active status in April 2020 by a federal appeals court that said users could try to show the Menlo Park, California-based company, which unfairly profited and violated their privacy.
Subsequent efforts by Facebook to convince the US Supreme Court to take up the case were unsuccessful.
According to settlement documents, the Facebook denied any wrong doing but settled to avoid the costs and risks of a lawsuit. Meta spokesman Drew Pusateri said in an email that settling is in our community and shareholders’ best interest. We are pleased to place this matter after us.
The settlement covers Facebook users in the United States who were, between April 22, 2010, and September 26, 2011, visited non-Facebook websites that displayed the Facebook “Like” button.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys plan to seek legal fees of up to $26.1 million, or 29%, of the settlement fund. They filed the lawsuit in February 2012. Facebook already has a history of privacy complaints.
In July 2019, he agreed to whine up privacy in a US Federal Trade Commission settlement that included a $5 billion fine.