Meta reaches $37.5million settlement deal in Facebook location tracking lawsuit

A woman holds a smartphone with Meta logo on it in front of a displayed Facebook logo in this illustration photo.

Meta Platforms Inc reached a $37.5 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing the parent of Facebook of violating users’ privacy by tracking their movements through their smartphones without permission.

A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed on Monday in San Francisco federal court, and requires a judge’s approval.

It resolved claims that Facebook violated California law and its own privacy policy by gathering data from users who turned off Location Services on their mobile devices.

The users said that while they did not want to share their locations with Facebook, the company nevertheless inferred where they were from their IP (internet protocol) addresses, and used that information to send them targeted advertising.

Monday’s settlement covers people in the United States who used Facebook after January 30, 2015.

Meta denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

In June 2018, Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told the U.S. Congress that the Menlo Park, California-based company uses location data “to help advertisers reach people in particular areas.”

As an example, it said users who dined at particular restaurants might receive posts from friends who also ate there, or ads from businesses that wanted to provide services nearby.

The lawsuit began in November 2018. Lawyers for the plaintiffs may seek up to 30% of Monday’s settlement for legal fees, settlement papers show.

The cases is Lundy et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-06793.

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