AARP Eye Center
Facebook parent Meta has agreed to pay out $725 million to settle a 5-year-old class action privacy lawsuit relating to Facebook user data that was improperly shared with other companies.
If you were among the millions of account holders on the world’s largest social network in the U.S. between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, you may be owed a piece of that settlement. You have until Aug. 25 of this year to submit a claim, which can be done by mail or filling out an online form.
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“File your claim. It’s found money. Never mind how much or how little you’ll get. The lawyers did a good job,” says class action attorney Danny Karon of Cleveland, owner of the Your Lovable Lawyer consumer website. “Go, take what they got for you.”
Will I get a windfall?
Don’t count on it. How much you potentially get will depend on how many people file claims.
Lawyers’ fees could reduce the $725 million total by as much as a quarter. And other costs incurred in the litigation will take out a bite.
Calculating any potential proceeds is pure speculation. But a back-of-the-envelope calculation, taking out 25 percent legal fees, considering no additional costs and dividing by the 87 million user profiles affected, yields $6.25.
Facebook actually had more than 240 million U.S. users in 2022 alone. All are eligible but are not automatically paid. They must file.
Why is this happening?
The backstory involves a British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked with former President Donald Trump on his 2016 campaign.
The firm was able to obtain private Facebook user data that could help build voter profiles. In 2018, the same year the class action litigation was filed, Facebook conceded that as many as 87 million user profiles may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
What is a class action?
The legal procedure allows one or a small number of plaintiffs to pursue a case on behalf of a larger group or class of people. As part of this particular settlement, which is pending final court approval, Meta admitted no wrongdoing.
How do I file a claim?
The simplest way is to visit the website, facebookuserprivacysettlement.com, and submit an online claim.
You’ll be asked to enter your name, postal address, Facebook username and email address or addresses associated with your Facebook account. You can submit only a single claim on your own behalf though family members with their own accounts can separately file their own claims. Having multiple Facebook accounts at the same time will not be double counted.
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