Facebook Settlement: Users of Facebook in the United States over the past 16 years now have the opportunity to receive a portion of a $725 million settlement offered by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, as compensation for privacy violations.
To be eligible for a share of the settlement, individuals must submit a claim before August 25.
Alternatively, users have the option to exclude themselves from the settlement if they prefer to pursue a separate legal action against Facebook. The deadline for opting out and initiating an independent legal proceeding is July 26.
The settlement arises from a series of lawsuits filed against Facebook by users who alleged that the company had improperly shared their personal information with third-party entities, including advertisers and data brokers.
These legal actions emerged in the aftermath of the 2018 privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, during which user data was illicitly harvested from Facebook to create voter profiles.
Meta has refuted any responsibility or misconduct as part of the settlement, as stated on the recently established class-action website designed to distribute compensation to Facebook users.
Nonetheless, the agreement enables individuals residing in the United States who utilized Facebook between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, to submit a monetary claim, provided that they do so before August 23 of this year.
Claim Process for Facebook Settlement:
To claim money under the Facebook settlement, follow these steps:
- Visit the claim website provided.
- Fill out the claim form with the necessary information.
- If preferred, you can also print out the claim form and mail it to the following address: Facebook Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, c/o Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Claim Form Information Required for Facebook Settlement:
The claim form will require the following basic information:
- Your full name
- Your current address
- Your email address
- Your phone number
- Confirmation of your residency in the United States between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022
- Confirmation of your usage of Facebook between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022
- If you deleted your Facebook account during that period, provide the date range when you were an active user
- Your Facebook username
- Your preferred payment service, such as PayPal, Venmo, or a prepaid Mastercard.
Make sure to provide accurate and complete information to facilitate the processing of your claim.
How long does it take to fill out the form?
The form can typically be completed within a few minutes, making the process quick and straightforward.
How do I find my Facebook name?
To find your Facebook name, follow these steps:
- On Facebook‘s website, navigate to your account settings by clicking on “Account” and then selecting “Settings and Privacy.”
- Within the settings menu, click on “Settings” where you will find the option for “Username.”
- Your Facebook username will be displayed there.
On the mobile app, follow these steps:
- Open the Facebook app and access the menu.
- Tap on your display name located at the top of the screen.
- Select the “…” icon next to “Edit Profile.”
- Your Facebook username will be shown under “Your Profile Link.”
Can I file for more than one Facebook account?
According to the claim administrator, if you created and subsequently deleted one or more Facebook accounts, and later created a new account, you can file a claim for the entire duration during which you had an activated Facebook account.
However, if you had multiple accounts simultaneously, you cannot claim for those additional accounts. In other words, the claim administrator does not permit double-counting of multiple accounts.
Please ensure you adhere to the guidelines provided by the claim administrator while filing your claim.
Can I file for a deceased person?
Yes, but it takes a few extra steps.
Filing the Claim:
To file a claim for a deceased person, follow these steps:
- Fill out the claim form using the name of the deceased person and provide their details in the “Your Facebook Account” section of the form.
Request for Name Change:
To change the claim from the deceased person’s name to the beneficiary or estate, you’ll need to submit a request to the claim settlement administrator along with supporting documentation. Here’s how:
- Use the secure portal provided by the administrator to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In the subject line of the email, include “Name Change – Facebook User Privacy Settlement” and provide the claim ID from the claim confirmation, as well as the full name of the deceased person.
- Explain the reason for the name change and attach relevant documents, such as a copy of the death certificate.
- The secure portal may require registration using your email and password.
Alternatively, you can mail the documentation to the following address:
Facebook User Privacy Settlement Attn: Name Change 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210 Philadelphia, PA 19103
Is the Facebook settlement legitimate?
Yes, according to Meta.
A spokesperson from Meta confirmed the legitimacy of the settlement, stating that it is in the best interest of the community and shareholders.
Notifications are being sent through Facebook to inform users about the settlement so they can decide whether or not to participate.
How much money will I get?
The exact amount per user is unclear as it depends on the number of users who file a claim, as mentioned on the settlement website.
However, it’s important to note that the lawyers involved in the case are likely to receive a portion of the settlement as their fees.
The claim website indicates that they could be awarded up to 25% of the settlement, which amounts to $181.3 million. If they receive this amount, the total settlement for participating Facebook users would be reduced to $543.7 million.
Each claimant will be assigned one point for each month during which they had an “activated” Facebook account between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022.
The settlement administrator will calculate the total points assigned to all claimants and divide the net settlement amount by that number.
Each claimant will receive a settlement amount per point, multiplied by the number of points assigned to them. Consequently, users who had shorter periods of activity on Facebook may receive a lower settlement amount.
Please ensure that you follow the instructions provided and provide accurate information when filing your claim.
When will I get the money?
The timeline for receiving the settlement money is uncertain, but it will not be until later this year at the earliest. The claims site indicates that a final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for September 7.
During this hearing, the court will decide whether to approve the settlement, including the allocation of attorneys’ fees and other costs.
If the settlement is approved, there is still the possibility of appeals, which would add an unknown amount of time to the resolution process.
The claims website emphasizes that settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible following final court approval and the resolution of any appeals.
Can I opt out of the settlement — and if so, why should I?
Yes, Facebook users have the option to opt out of the settlement.
One potential reason to do so is if you wish to retain your right to pursue a separate lawsuit against Facebook regarding the issues and allegations involved in this case, as mentioned on the settlement website.
To opt out, you can submit a request online or via mail before the deadline of July 26. If you choose to send a written request, it should include the following information:
- The case name: In re: Facebook, Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, Case No. 3:18-md-02843-VC (N.D. Cal.)
- Your full name and current address
- Your signature
- A statement clearly indicating your intention to be excluded from the settlement
- Your Facebook account URL
- A statement confirming that you were a Facebook user between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022
Please ensure that you provide accurate and complete information if you decide to opt out of the settlement.
What if I don’t do anything?
If you choose not to take any action, which means neither filing a claim nor opting out of the settlement, you will forfeit your right to file a lawsuit, continue an existing lawsuit, or participate in any other legal proceedings against Facebook concerning the specific legal matters addressed in this case.
Additionally, you will not be eligible to receive any portion of the settlement funds, as stated on the settlement website.
Are there people who are excluded from the settlement?
Yes, there are certain groups of individuals who are excluded from participating in the settlement. These include:
- Employees of Meta (formerly Facebook), affiliated companies, or subsidiaries.
- Attorneys representing the plaintiff and their employees.
- Special masters, mediators, and judges involved in the case.
Furthermore, the settlement does not cover individuals who are not residents of the United States or those who were not Facebook users at any time between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022.
Please note the specific eligibility criteria outlined by the settlement to determine whether you fall within the scope of the settlement agreement.
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