Facebook parent company Meta has settled a class-action lawsuit for $37.5 million over location tracking. Upon the judge’s approval, the settlement will resolve the claim that Meta used invasive means to track users’ locations to show targeted ads.
Facebook tracks users’ online activity to run targeted ads which constitute a major of the company’s revenue. In October 2021, it was reported that the company earned $29 billion ad revenue.
However, the company has been called out for using invasive means to collect users’ data. A research firm, pCloud found Facebook and Instagram to be the most invasive apps.
Both the apps collect information on location, contact details, search history, browsing history, purchases, and share most of the data with third-party advertisers. Facebook collects 57% of user data, while Instagram harvests 79% of personal data.
That’s why Facebook strongly opposes Apple’s App Tracking Transparency privacy feature on iOS which prevents apps from invasive tracking. Now, the social media house is going to pay a huge price for its shady practices.
Meta to pay $37.5 million for using IP addresses to track users’ location without their permission
According to Reuters, the case was filed in November 2018 at the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California which accused the social media giant of invasively obtaining users’ location data through their IP addresses when the app’s Location Services were disabled.
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.
Previously, Meta CEO 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 $37.5 million settlement covers Facebook users in the United States who used the app after Jan. 30, 2015.