Facebook resolves the class action against Cambridge Analytica for an undisclosed sum.

Facebook executives won’t have to testify in court as a result of an agreement Meta’s Platforms struck to resolve the consumer lawsuits launched as a result of Cambridge Analytica’s improper collecting of user data. …

In a filing [PDF] dated August 26, it was asked that the class action be suspended for sixty days while the parties worked out a formal settlement. The settlement amount for the four-year-old case is still secret.

A group of users filed a complaint alleging that UK-based Cambridge Analytica developed the “This Is Your Digital Life” Facebook app, which was downloaded 300,000 times and gathered user data. Additionally, the software obtained information about users’ Facebook Friends, possibly gaining access to the personal data of over 80 million people.

All of the material is believed to have been exploited by Russian disinformation agents, Brexit campaigners, and during the 2016 US Presidential election.

Meta US Congress summoned CEO Mark Zuckerberg to speak on how his business had permitted data harvesting and why it had not been effectively policed.

In a fairly peculiar appearance before Congress in 2018, Zuck’s CEO responded to various inquiries concerning the company he established with terse statements like “I do not recall.”

The consequences of the discoveries for Facebook include the dismissal of two prior privacy lawsuits, a $5 billion punishment from the US Federal Trade Commission, and a $630,000 fine from UK authorities.

By agreeing to the settlement, Sheryl Sandberg, who will soon be the COO of Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg may skip their scheduled depositions on September 20.

The journalist Carole Cadwalladr who looked into and reported on Facebook’s connection to Cambridge Analytica said, “It is a measure of how desperate Zuckerberg is to avoid answering questions about Facebook’s cover-up of the Cambridge Analytica data breach that Facebook has settled this case just days away from him being cross-examined under oath for six hours.”

The journalist Carole Cadwalladr who looked into and reported on Facebook’s connection to Cambridge Analytica said, “It is a measure of how desperate Zuckerberg is to avoid answering questions about Facebook’s cover-up of the Cambridge Analytica data breach that Facebook has settled this case just days away from him being cross-examined under oath for six hours.”

The settlement, according to Cadwalladr, is evidence that Facebook was “willing to pay almost any sum of money” to avoid having its executives testify. By doing so, they would have likely embarrassed themselves and further damaged what little goodwill Meta/Facebook may have left after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed how the company willfully ignores the harm it causes to users. Not to mention a number of other scandals that consistently appear to result in an apology and a pledge to do better… until the next revelation discloses new wrongdoings.

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