Meta’s Facebook agreed to pay $90 million to settle privacy lawsuit for tracking users’ activity even after they logged out of its website
For at least a decade, Facebook has been tracking users’ internet activity on its social media platform even after they logged out of its website. Now, the social giant has agreed to settle a decade-old privacy lawsuit as part of a proposed preliminary settlement.
As part of the settlement, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms has agreed to pay $90 million to settle the 10-year-old lawsuit, according to a report from Reuters, citing court records. Facebook denied any wrongdoing but agreed to settle the case to avoid the costs and risks of a trial, court settlement papers showed.
The settlement was filed on Monday night with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. If approved by a judge, the agreement would put to rest one of the series of suits alleging the social media giant invaded users’ privacy.
According to the court filing, users accused Facebook, now a unit of the new Meta Platforms Inc. of violating federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws by using plug-ins to store cookies that tracked when they visited outside websites containing Facebook “like” buttons.
The court documents also showed that Facebook then allegedly compiled users’ browsing histories into profiles that it sold to advertisers. In addition to paying $90 million, Facebook is also required to delete all the data it collected improperly.
In an email to several news outlets, Meta spokesperson Drew Pusateri said, “Reaching a settlement in this case, which is more than a decade old, is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders and we’re glad to move past this issue.”
The case was previously dismissed in June 2017 but was revived in April 2020 by a federal appeals court, which said Facebook users could try to prove that Facebook profited unjustly and violated their privacy. The company’s subsequent effort to have the case taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court was unsuccessful.
The case is In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 12-md-02314.