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April 19, 2023

How Facebook users can claim a piece of a $725 million data privacy settlement

The lawsuit was triggered by 2018 findings that as many as 87 million people had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica

Lawsuits Facebook
facebook lawsuit settlement Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Facebook users who used the app in the United States in the last 16 years may be eligible to receive compensation following a $725 million class-action lawsuit settlement.

Millions of Facebook users in the United States may be eligible to receive compensation from the social media company following a class-action lawsuit.

Meta, Facebook's parent company, agreed to a $725 million settlement in a lawsuit that alleged the social media platform shared users’ data without their consent. Current or former Facebook users in the U.S. who used the app between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022 may be eligible for cash payment in the settlement, according to a newly launched website.

People who fit the criteria can submit their claim form online, or download the form and mail it. The claim form must be submitted no later than Aug. 25, 2023. The deadline to opt-out or object to the settlement is July 26.

Despite receiving preliminary approval by a judge last month, the settlement is subject to the approval of a federal judge in San Francisco, with a final approval hearing scheduled for Sept. 7. After that, settlement payments will be distributed "as soon as possible," depending on whether the court grants final approval of the settlement and if any appeals need to be resolved.

The $725 million first must cover administrative costs, plus counsel and representative fees. The remainder "net settlement fund" will be distributed among approved settlement class members. How much payment each claimant would receive depends on how many people submit valid claims, as well as how long each member was on Facebook during the 16-year time period. 

The lawsuit was triggered by 2018 findings that as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed by the now-defunct British political consulting and data mining firm Cambridge Analytica. The firm, which worked for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, allegedly stole the data through a personality quiz app. 

This revelation triggered the lawsuit, which expanded to include several cases and address broad concerns over Facebook's data privacy practices.

Meta did not admit wrongdoing in the case but agreed to pay $725 million to resolve the class-action lawsuit in December. The company stated that the settlement was "in the best interest of our community and shareholders," and that Meta has been implementing a comprehensive privacy program over the past few years. 

The plaintiffs' lawyers called the settlement the largest ever achieved in a U.S. data privacy class action, and the most that Meta has ever paid to resolve a class action lawsuit.

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