Af Aimee Picchi
Anyone in the U.S. who has used Facebook for the past 16 years can now recover part of a $725 million settlement from parent company Meta linked to privacy violations — as long as they complete a claim on a site that is created to pay users of social networking networks.
The settlement stems from several lawsuits filed against Facebook by users who claimed the company improperly shared their data with third-party sources, such as advertisers and data brokers. The lawsuit began after Facebook was involved in a privacy scandal in 2018 with Cambridge Analytica, whichscraped user datafrom the website as part of a voter profiling effort.
Meta denied any liability or wrongdoing in the settlement, according to the newly created class action website. However, the settlement means that US residents who used Facebook between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022 can file a monetary claim as long as they do so by August 25, 2023.
How do I claim money under the Facebook settlement?
go torequirements websiteto complete your claim or otherwise print the claim and send it to: Facebook Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, c/o Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
What information do I need to provide?
The claim asks for basic information:
- Your name
- Your address
- Din email address
- This number
- If you were a resident of the United States between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022
- If you were a Facebook user between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022
- If you deleted your account during the time, date range, when you were a Facebook user
- Your Facebook username
- Your preferred payment service such as PayPal, Venmo or prepaid Mastercard
How long does it take to fill out the form?
It should only take a few minutes.
How can I find my name on Facebook?
You can find it on the Facebook website by going to "Account" and then clicking on "Settings and Privacy". From there, click on “Settings” where you should see “Username”.
Go to the menu in the mobile app, then click your display name at the top of the screen. Then select "..." next to "Edit Profile" and your username will appear under "Your Profile Link".
Can I apply for more than one Facebook account?
The claims administrator says that if you created but deleted one or more Facebook accounts and then created a new Facebook account, you can claim for the entire time you had an active Facebook account during that time.
But if you had several accounts at the same time, you cannot claim the extra accounts. So no double counting, according to the claims adjuster.
Can I search for a deceased person?
Yes, but it requires a few extra steps.
First, you must submit the claim under the deceased's name and fill in their details in the 'Your Facebook Account' section of the claim form.
You must then submit a request to the claims administrator to change the name to a beneficiary or claimant's estate. To do this, you must provide documentation showing the reason for the name change, such as a copy of the death certificate. Send an email to the administrator through heresecure gatewaywith explanation and documents showing the need for the change.
The secure portal allows you to send an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line: "Name Change - Facebook User Privacy Settlement" and include the claim ID from the claim confirmation and the decedent's full name. The site will also ask you to register with your email and password.
You can also send the documentation to:
NOTE: Change of name
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Is the Facebook settlement legal?
Yes, according to Meta.
"We sought a settlement as it is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders," a spokesperson for Meta told CBS MoneyWatch. "We are notifying people through their Facebook notifications of this settlement so they can decide whether to participate."
How much money will I get?
It is unclear because the settlement amount per user will depend on how many people complete a claim, according to the settlement website.
But the lawyers involved in the case will likely receive a portion of the settlement as part of their fees. The claims website notes that they could be awarded up to 25% of the settlement — or $181.3 million. If they get that much, the settlement will drop to $543.7 million for Facebook users seeking a portion of the claim.
Each claimant will receive one point for each month they had an "activated" Facebook account between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022. The settlement administrator will add up all points awarded to all claimants and then divide the net settlement amount by that number.
Each claimant will receive this amount per points multiplied by the number of points they were awarded, meaning people who have been on Facebook for shorter periods of time are likely to receive a lower settlement amount.
When will I get the money?
Not until later this year at the earliest.
The claims center notes that there is a final approval hearing on the settlement on September 7, where the court will decide whether to approve the settlement and award attorneys' fees and other costs. If the settlement is approved, the case could be appealed, which would take an unknown amount of time to resolve, the website notes.
"Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the court finally approves the settlement and after any appeals have been decided," it reads.
Can I opt out of the settlement - and if so, why?
Yes, Facebook users can opt out of the settlement. One possible reason for doing so is if you want to retain your right to sue the company separately over the issues and allegations in the case, according to the settlement's website.
To opt out, you must submit a request online or by mail by July 26, the website notes. To send the request in writing, please include the following information:
- Case Name — In Re: Facebook, Inc. Consumer protection User profile lawsuits, case no. 3:18-md-02843-VC (N.D. Cal.)
- Your name and current address
- Your signature
- A statement "clearly stating your intention to opt out of the settlement"
- URL to your Facebook account
- Declaration that you were a Facebook user between 24 May 2007 and 22 December 2022
What if I do nothing?
If you do not file a claim or opt out of the settlement, you waive your right to sue, litigate or participate in any other proceeding against Facebook related to the legal issues involved in the action. You also won't be able to collect any of the settlement money, according to the site.
Are there people excluded from the settlement?
Except for those who opt out of the settlement, persons working for Meta, its affiliates or subsidiaries, and the attorneys for the plaintiff and their employees may not participate in the settlement. Nor can the special master, mediators and judges involved in the case participate.
The settlement also does not cover users outside the United States or people who were not Facebook users at any time between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022.
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