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Mark Zuckerberg pledges better privacy for Facebook users after $550m settlement for collecting data

Mark Zuckerberg pledges better privacy protections for Facebook users after agreeing to pay $550 million settlement over lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected millions of users’ biometric data without consent

  • Facebook agreed to pay a $550 million settlement Wednesday over a lawsuit claiming it illegally collected millions of users’ biometric data without consent  
  • The tech giant fell foul of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act 
  • Under the state law, companies must obtain explicit permission before collecting biometric data  
  • Mark Zuckerberg has promised Facebook users privacy upgrades, as the founder seeks to address ongoing privacy concerns dogging the company
  • Facebook stocks dropped by 7.2 per cent Wednesday after the announcement and the firm reported its slowest-ever revenue growth for the fourth quarter a

Mark Zuckerberg has pledged better protections for Facebook users after the social media giant agreed to pay a $550 million settlement Wednesday over a lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected millions of users’ biometric data without their consent.   

The proposed class-action settlement was disclosed by Facebook’s chief financial officer on a Wednesday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, and by lawyers for Facebook users who called it the largest cash settlement of a privacy lawsuit.

Facebook did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which requires court approval.

Mark Zuckerberg has promised Facebook users privacy upgrades in light of the outcome of the suit, as the founder seeks to address the ongoing privacy concerns that have dogged the social media company.

Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) has pledged better protections for Facebook users after the social media giant agreed to pay a $550 million settlement Wednesday over a lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected millions of users’ biometric data without their consent

He said during the call that the FTC settlement committed Facebook to privacy controls that ‘set a new standard for our industry, going beyond anything that’s required by law today.’

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg added that they ‘want everyone to be in control of their privacy on Facebook.’ 

Facebook stocks dropped by 7.2 per cent Wednesday after the announcement and the firm reported its slowest-ever revenue growth for the fourth quarter at 25 per cent. 

The lawsuit began in 2015, when Illinois users accused Facebook of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act in collecting biometric data.

Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in December. The Facebook founder is seeking to address ongoing privacy concerns that have dogged the social media company

Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in December. The Facebook founder is seeking to address ongoing privacy concerns that have dogged the social media company

The latest settlement was disclosed by Facebook's chief financial officer on a Wednesday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, and by lawyers for Facebook users who called it the largest cash settlement of a privacy lawsuit. Facebook did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which requires court approval

The latest settlement was disclosed by Facebook’s chief financial officer on a Wednesday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, and by lawyers for Facebook users who called it the largest cash settlement of a privacy lawsuit. Facebook did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which requires court approval

Facebook allegedly accomplished this through its ‘Tag Suggestions’ feature, which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from previously uploaded photos. 

Under the state law, companies must obtain explicit permission before collecting biometric data – including scans of faces, the Washington Post explained. 

The settlement followed a federal appeals court’s refusal last August to undo the class action, after Facebook had argued the Illinois users had unique claims requiring individual lawsuits. 

Facebook reached a separate $5 billion settlement last year with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which arose from the company’s having allowed British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest data for an estimated 87 million users. 

In the latest settlement over privacy concerns, the plaintiffs were represented by the Edelson, Labaton Sucharow, and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd law firms.

More such litigation may be forthcoming.

‘We expect Facebook to face similar legal battles at the state and federal levels,’ Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi wrote after results were released.

Illinois’ biometric privacy law provided for damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation.  

Zuckerberg with President Trump. The Facebook lawsuit began in 2015, when Illinois users accused Facebook of violating the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act in collecting biometric data

Zuckerberg with President Trump. The Facebook lawsuit began in 2015, when Illinois users accused Facebook of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act in collecting biometric data

Facebook was forced to reached a separate $5 billion settlement last year with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which arose from the company's having allowed British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest data for an estimated 87 million users

Facebook was forced to reached a separate $5 billion settlement last year with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which arose from the company’s having allowed British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest data for an estimated 87 million users

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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