This Sunday, reports revealed that leading immersive technology firm Meta Platforms Inc. is paying roughly $725 million in a class action lawsuit to its social media users.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued the payout based on user privacy concerns on the firm’s umbrella of social media platforms.
In its ‘Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation’ case, Meta is paying out to users affected by privacy breaches stemming from the Menlo Park-based firm’s leak of roughly 87 million users’ data with Cambridge Analytica, first brought to light in 2014, landing in the district judge’s hands in 2018.
Cambridge Analytica is a controversial data analytics company which faced various scrutinies over the past decade. Notably, in a report compiled by various news outlets, the firm was exposed for acquiring the private Facebook data of tens of millions of users, marking the most significant leak in Meta’s long history.
Moreover, Cambridge Analytica became embroiled in various political controversies by selling voter data to high-stack political campaigns.
Meta denied any wrongdoing during the hearing. However, the firm chose to settle with a multi-million dollar price tag.
Meta Wins Big in FTC Lawsuit
In February 2023, Meta won a lawsuit with the FTC accusing the Menlo Park-based firm of anti-competitive practices.
The FTC first started blockades and legal proceedings with Meta in 2022 for its $400 million acquisition of Within, the maker of Supernatural, a popular VR fitness app.
The FTC alleged that the acquisition would give Meta an unfair advantage in the VR market by stifling competition and giving the company control over a critical piece of the VR ecosystem.
However, a judge ruled in Meta’s favour in February 2023, saying that the FTC had not presented enough evidence to show that the acquisition would harm competition.
The FTC sued Meta in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Meta’s acquisition of Within violated antitrust laws. The FTC claimed that Meta already owned the VR fitness application Beat Saber, which would allow the firm to compete unfairly with Within’s Supernatural fitness app.
In response, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company focuses on gaming, productivity, and other use cases over fitness services. He also noted that VR fitness is essential to the business but not a significant growth driver. A Meta spokesperson also said the FTC’s case was “based on ideology and speculation, not evidence.”
The news comes after Meta closed its doors on two major Meta Quest software developers – Metaverse platform Crayta, developed and operated by Unit 2, and VR gaming developer Ready at Dawn, operators of Echo VR.
Despite the closure of its online Meta Quest applications, the Menlo Park-based firm confirmed its dedication to its elusive upcoming Project Nazare AR device. Moreover, the move marks Meta’s goals of driving device adoption with immersive system-selling applications.