This week, Facebook’s parent company Meta reached a $37.5 million settlement in a class action suit accusing the company of tracking users’ locations through their phones without their permission.
According to the claims made in the suit, Facebook violated California law (and its own privacy rules) by gathering location data from users who had toggled off Location Services in their settings. Despite not wanting to share that information, Facebook was still able to infer their location and send them targeted advertising for restaurants and other businesses nearby.
Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Facebook overstepped its bounds to gather our data. The company has never been particularly shy about it; in 2018, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told congress that Facebook gathered users’ location data “to help advertisers reach people in particular areas.” However, the social media giant may need to reconsider the benefits of this technology if it’s going to face such costly litigation moving forward. In general, more and more of these privacy cases have been rolling out across the country, challenging a company that once seemed like it couldn’t be touched. The more public pressure builds, the more Facebook will be forced to answer for its privacy errors — and to finally correct them.
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