Meta, the parent company of Facebook, agreed to pay $90 million to settle a data privacy lawsuit that accused the tech giant of tracking people online even if they weren’t signed into its website.
The suit is almost a decade old and centered on Facebook using cookies that tracked users on other websites that had a Facebook “like” button on them between 2010 and 2011. Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case say that the settlement will rank among the ten largest data privacy settlements in U.S. history.
The suit alleged that while Facebook obtained consent to track users while logged into the platform, it continued to track users’ browsing history even after they logged off.
The suit was brought after a report from an Australian developer in 2011 found that Facebook could identify logged-out users with the “like” button on other websites, according to MediaPost. The suit was eventually turned into a class-action complaint.
The settlement was submitted earlier this week in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. It would need to be approved by a judge.
“This settlement not only repairs harm done to Facebook users but sets a precedent for the future disposition of such matters,” David Straite, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs and a New York-based partner at DiCello Levitt Gutzler, said in a statement.
In a statement to Variety, a Meta spokesperson said that reaching a settlement was “in the best interest of our community and our shareholders.”
The settlement is just the latest data privacy issue Facebook has found itself mired in.
In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a $5 billion settlement after an investigation into the company’s privacy practices.
Meanwhile, earlier this week Texas sued Meta for allegedly collecting biometric data of its users without first obtaining their consent, violating the state’s Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act.
The company faced a similar lawsuit in Illinois, which also has a law that requires companies to obtain consent before collecting biometric information. Facebook eventually agreed to pay $650 million to settle that lawsuit.
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