Anyone in the United States who has had a Facebook account for the last 16 years has about a week to request their payment in the event of a data privacy settlement.
Last December, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, agreed to pay $725 million to settle a series of privacy-related class action lawsuits, which among other things accused Facebook of allowing third parties access to its users’ private data. and those of your friends without your permission.
Are you or were you a Facebook user? You can now ask for part of a $725 million data privacy settlement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal
That includes the private data of about 70 million US-based Facebook users, accessed by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
That private information may have included anything from birthdays and hometowns to more personal information, like private messages.
Here’s what you should know if you’re considering asking for your share of the payment in the case:
Who can submit a request for payment?
If you were a Facebook user in the United States during any period between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022, you can do so.
When is the deadline?
You must file your claim with this form by 11:59 p.m. PST on Friday, August 25 if you are filing online. If you submit it by mail, the postmark must be before August 25.
What Happened to Facebook?, a simplified version 1:55
How much can they pay you?
It depends on three factors:
1) how many people submit a valid application.
2) how long you were an active Facebook user between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022.
3) what the total net proceeds of the settlement will be after administrative, legal and other costs are subtracted.
Based on how long you’ve been a Facebook user, Meta indicates that the deal administrator will award one point for each month you’ve had an active account. The administrator will then add up all points assigned to all valid claimants and divide the net settlement amount by the total number of points. That will determine how much you will be paid for each month you were an active user.
Using an oversimplified example, if your net settlement amount is $100 and the total number of points across all applicants is 500, you would be paid 20 cents ($100/500) for each month you had an account open between May 2007 and December 2022. If your account was active for, say, 52 months, you would receive $10.40 (20 cents x 52 months). If it was activated for the 187 months of that period, you would receive US$ 37.40.
When will they pay me?
That is not yet clear.
Once all applications have been received, a final approval hearing will be held to resolve the case. That court date is scheduled for September 7 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time, according to Facebook’s user privacy agreement website.
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If the settlement is approved but there are appeals, that will delay when you can receive a payment. “Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the Court grants final approval of the settlement and after any appeals are resolved,” according to a lengthy FAQ sheet on the settlement’s website.
And if the court changes the date of the approval hearing, the updated day and time will appear on that site.
Can I sue Facebook?
Facebook users were allowed to “opt out” of the settlement and retain their right to sue. But the deadline to do so — July 26 — has passed.
By joining the “settlement class” and claiming a payment, you will no longer be able to sue Facebook or join others’ lawsuits against Facebook for issues covered by the settlement. Page 15 of the agreement lists the claims you are giving up.