(FreedomBeacon.com)- Meta, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, reached a settlement totaling $37.5 million this week in a lawsuit that accused the company of violating the privacy of its users.
The class-action lawsuit was filed claiming that Facebook violated California law as well as their own policy regarding privacy when they gathered data from users who ultimately turned off location services on the mobile devices they were using. This allowed Facebook to track where they moved, even though they weren’t given permission by the users to do so.
On Monday, this preliminary settlement for the class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco. A judge will still need to approve the settlement agreement before it is finalized.
If it is approved, it will settle all claims in the case.
The users who were being represented in the class-action lawsuit have said they had no intentions of sharing their location with the social media app. Nevertheless, the company was able to infer where they were traveling using the IP addresses on their mobile devices.
Facebook then allegedly used that information to deliver targeted advertising to them based on their location.
The settlement would cover any person in the United States who used Facebook after the date of January 30 of 2015.
While the company agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit, Meta denied any wrongdoing in the process. They didn’t respond to requests for a comment that were made by Reuters on Tuesday.
Back in June of 2018, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, told Congress that he company uses location data that it gathers “to help advertisers reach people in particular areas.”
This data could be used, for example, to show posts from people’s friends if they ate at a restaurant that they themselves are currently eating at. Another example is that Facebook would be able to use this location data to serve users with ads from businesses that wanted to target people in that specific area at a specific time.
The lawsuit was first filed later that year, in November of 2018.
According to the papers filed with the settlement, the lawyers who are representing the plaintiffs in the case are allowed to seek legal fees that would amount to 30% of the total settlement figure.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has been accused of tracking users — and it’s not even the first time they’ve come to a settlement agreement because of it.
In June of this year, Meta agreed to a separate $90 million settlement over accusations that the social media company was tracking users after they logged out of Facebook and were browsing other websites.
And earlier in 2022, another class-action lawsuit was settled for $650 million. That suit alleged that the facial recognition scans Facebook was using were in violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act in Illinois.
Despite paying out $777.5 million in just these three settlements, it’s unlikely they will be the last that Meta faces due to the actions of its top social media platform.