Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has been ordered by a court to pay a total of $725 million to users who had Facebook accounts between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, and used the platform at any point during that period. The legal action against Meta alleged that the company had made user data, as well as information about their friends, available to third parties without their consent. Despite denying any wrongdoing, Meta has been required to provide compensation to affected users.
To be eligible for the compensation, you must have been a Facebook user residing in the US between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, and will be required to provide your Facebook username and the phone number associated with your account. The deadline to submit your claim is August 25, 2023, but due to the vast number of users involved, the payout is not expected to be substantial.
The lawsuit alleged that Meta had mishandled the data of tens of millions of Facebook users, which was linked to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to lawyers at Keller Rohrback, the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users may have been collected by the company. This data was subsequently utilized by the Trump and Brexit campaigns to influence elections and political campaigns in 2016. Keller Rohrback lawyers claimed: “Facebook has allegedly known about Cambridge Analytica’s improper data collection since 2015 and failed to take action to stop the activity or notify users until March 2018.”
Meta has agreed to the payment to settle the lawsuit claiming Facebook allowed users’ personal data to be shared with third parties, the most famous being Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Anyone who was a Facebook user between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, is eligible for a payment. However, only U.S. users are eligible for a payment.
To file a claim, there are two ways: online or by mail. To file online, you’ll need to answer a few questions about yourself and decide how you’d like to be paid (prepaid gift card, direct deposit, PayPal, etc.). To file by mail, you’ll need to print some forms and send them to the settlement administrator in Philadelphia. The deadline to submit the form is August 25 in order to qualify.
As with many class action lawsuits, the size of each individual’s payout depends on how many claims come in. How long you were a Facebook user will also determine the size of your payment. The longer you had an active account, the larger your payment will be. You need to disclose if you’ve deleted your Facebook account when submitting a claim. Attorneys’ fees and administrative expenses will be deducted from the $725 million pot before any money lands in your bank account.
The final settlement hearing is set for September 7, 2023, so any approved payments definitely wouldn’t be sent out before then. Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. The date of the hearing is also subject to change.