Person holding phone next to laptop with Facebook app on screen

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Meta reaches $37.5 Million settlement for illegally using location data to serve ads

The class action lawsuit alleged that Facebook farmed user location data even if users told it not to.

 

Jacob Seitz

Tech

Meta reached a $37.5 Million settlement in a class-action location privacy lawsuit on Monday but denied wrongdoing as part of the deal.

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The class-action lawsuit, which was originally brought against the tech giant in November 2018, claims Facebook was harvesting user location data by tracking their movements without their permission. 

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Even if users declined to be tracked by the app or turned off tracking, Facebook was still able to track users with their IP addresses and send them targeted ads, according to the lawsuit.

For example, the lawsuit claimed users who dined at particular restaurants received posts from friends who also ate there or ads from businesses nearby. The suit alleged this violated California laws on data tracking.

The settlement was filed in federal court in California on Monday and still requires approval from a judge.

Meta has been under increased scrutiny in recent months, with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice suing the company in recent months over antitrust concerns and discriminatory practices, respectively. Meta has seen its profits dwindle over recent months and have begun to roll back practices like its removal of COVID-19 misinformation from Facebook and Instagram. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced earlier this summer that the company would be introducing aggressive performance reviews to weed out underperforming employees as cost-cutting measures, and the company told employees in May that it was implementing a hiring freeze.

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Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.


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