Facebook has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a decade-old privacy lawsuit that accuses it of tracking users’ internet activity even after they disconnected from social media.
The preliminary settlement proposal was presented on Monday (14) to the District Court of San Jose, California, and requires the approval of a judge. The settlement also requires Facebook to delete improperly collected data.
Users accused the social network of violating federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws by using plugins to store cookies that tracked visits to external websites containing Facebook “like” buttons.
Facebook then allegedly compiled users’ browsing histories into profiles it sold to advertisers.
The case was dropped in 2017 but reopened in April 2020 by a federal appeals court, which said users could try to prove that the company unfairly profited and violated privacy.
The company denied wrongdoing but settled to avoid the costs and risks of a trial, according to settlement documents.
The deal “is in the best interests of our community and our shareholders and we are happy to overcome this issue,” said Meta spokesman Drew Pusateri.
The settlement covers US Facebook users who between April 2010 and September 2011 visited non-Facebook sites that displayed the social network’s “like” button.
The lawyers plan to seek attorney fees of up to $26.1 million. The process began in February 2012.
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