Facebook’s Settlement in Cambridge Analytica Lawsuit

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September 06, 2022

What is the issue?

Facebook has agreed to settle a lawsuit seeking damages for allowing Cambridge Analytica access to the private data of tens of millions of users.

What is the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit?

  • It is primarily about the Facebook’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.
  • A probe revealed that a London-based data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, misused data from as many as 50 million Facebook users.
  • The firm collected the personal data of many users without their consent to build psychographic profiles of voters.
  • The potential voters’ personality traits, ideology, and beliefs were then built.
  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign is said to have used the services of Cambridge Analytica to influence voters by micro-targeting them.
  • It was also accused by a whistleblower of pursing voter suppression tactics targeting Black voters.


What is the role of Facebook in the scandal?

  • Role in Cambridge Analytica Scandal
    • Allowing unauthorised access to its users’ data
    • Slow response to data breach and in informing the user community
    • Refuting the claims of Cambridge Analytica that they deleted the collected data after realising that it went against Facebook’s terms
  • Other cases- U.S. residents who used Facebook after 2015 alleged that the company tracked their location via their IP address despite them disabling the location service option.
  • In 2019, Facebook paid a record 5 billion dollar to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges for deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal info.

What is the response of Facebook?

  • It apologised for the breach of trust and admitted that the company didn’t do enough to deal with it.
  • Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has
    • Removed data access from thousands of apps suspected of abusing
    • Restricted the amount of information available to developers
    • Made it easier for users to calibrate restrictions on personal data sharing
  • In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay a fine imposed by the U.K. for breaches of data protection law related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.



  1. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/facebook-fb-meta-settlement-cambridge-analytica-lawsuit-platform-data-user-privacy/article65852686.ece?homepage=true
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/facebook-agrees-to-settle-cambridge-analytica-privacy-suit/article65823226.ece
  3. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/23/17151916/facebook-cambridge-analytica-trump-diagram
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