Today is the last day to claim your portion of a $725 million settlement that Facebook parent company Meta has agreed to pay as part of a class-action lawsuit over privacy violations following Cambridge Analytica’s data collection from 87 million Facebook users for use in Donald Trump’s campaign.
What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a civil suit filed on behalf of multiple individuals by lawyers or law firms on their behalf. Class actions are legal in most countries with civil justice systems. Class actions usually focus on an issue affecting many people at once; for the case to qualify as a class action lawsuit, however, the court must first certify it; when this happens, they determine that there are common questions of law or fact affecting all members within that group.
In this lawsuit against Facebook, allegations include privacy violations allegedly perpetrated upon Illinois residents by sharing personal data without their consent or authorization with third-party data brokers who were then able to gain access to up to 87 million user profiles accessed through data brokers. Facebook denied any wrongdoing during settlement negotiations approved by a federal judge in February 2021.
Whoever is eligible to claim payments under the Facebook settlement must submit their claim no later than Friday, August 25. Either they can submit it online via an authorized portal or send it in an envelope directly. Claim forms can be downloaded from the settlement website, along with helpful tips on submitting them.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs have requested an unprecedented $181 Million in legal fees as a percentage of recovery – the highest ever seen in a class-action settlement agreement. Keller Rohrback and Bleichmar Fonti & Auld are lead counsel for these claims.
Sometimes, courts decide to award less than requested, either due to reasons like disbelief among lawyers that their client is receiving their fair share or other compelling reasons that lead them not to continue with a lawsuit.
Once a judge approves a class action settlement, it becomes official, and all potential class members will be informed about how to file claims within a set deadline. By participating in such payments, people relinquish any right they had to sue Facebook on any issues covered by it in future lawsuits.
What is the deadline for filing a claim?
Today is the last chance for people who used Facebook to join what could become one of the most significant privacy settlements ever negotiated in US history. Facebook parent Meta Platforms has agreed to pay $725 million as part of a settlement for lawsuits alleging it provided third-party data providers such as Cambridge Analytica with access without consent, though they deny wrongdoing; instead, they’ve agreed to settle quickly in order to avoid costly litigation costs.
If you had a Facebook account between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, then you are eligible to file a claim online at this link. While an exact amount has yet to be decided upon due to factors like how many claims people file and for how long each user maintained an account, the settlement administrator website contains a calculator that can give an approximate estimate.
Your payout options for accepting claims could include Venmo, Prepaid Mastercard Cards, PayPal Zelle, or physical checks sent directly to you. Please allow up to 60 days for this process to run its course and for payments to commence.
Filing a claim by Friday is the deadline, and how many individuals receive payment will depend on the length of their account tenure and the total settlement amount (less administrative, legal, and court costs). Individual prices will likely fall below total settlement amounts as administrative, legal, and court costs will also be deducted from them.
On Sept. 7th, a final approval hearing for the settlement agreement is set and must be approved by a judge before payments can be distributed. If it doesn’t pass muster, appeals could take place and add more delays to this lengthy process.
This settlement does not apply to people outside of the U.S. or those working for Meta or its affiliated companies and subsidiaries or to their employees as attorneys representing plaintiffs or their employees as well as special masters, mediators, or judges involved in this case. It does not preclude future lawsuits against this social media giant.
What if I don’t file a claim?
Anyone who used Facebook at any point over the past 16 years has one week remaining to file for their share of a $725 million data privacy settlement against Meta, Facebook’s parent company. The lawsuits filed against Meta allege it permitted third parties to access private user data without their permission; that data was then used by Cambridge Analytica during Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and target voters without consent; yet Meta denies wrongdoing, opting instead to settle cases out of court to save both cost and risk associated with trials.
Settlement payouts will depend on how long you were an active Facebook user during the relevant time frame and various administrative and legal costs that must be subtracted from the net settlement amount. Exact payout amounts won’t become known until a judge approves and any appeals have been resolved; until then, we cannot predict who exactly will receive what payout amount.
Meta’s Facebook post states that they anticipate there to be fewer valid claims filed than there will be funds from this settlement, meaning if you miss filing by the deadline, there’s a good chance you won’t receive anything from it.
To file a claim with Facebook’s Data Privacy Settlement website, visit its site and follow its instructions to complete all required information. Generally speaking, this will involve providing basic details like your name, email address, and any supporting documentation, such as proof that a data breach occurred that affected you personally or was lost by you.
Once your claim is submitted, the settlement administrator will review it to make sure all necessary information has been included. If additional documentation is required, they will notify you via email and let you know what needs to be submitted. Once approved, payment can be delivered either via direct deposit or check; in cases of rejection by the settlement administrator, they will explain why in writing.
How do I get my share of the settlement?
People with active Facebook accounts in the US from May 2007 through December 2022 are eligible to claim part of the $725 million that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, agreed to pay as part of its settlement of a privacy lawsuit last month. Allegedly, Meta permitted third parties – such as a consulting firm that worked on Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 – access the private data of up to 87 million users without their permission.
Anyone in the US who used Facebook during the timeframe can file a claim through the settlement website; however, no guarantee that you will get payment will be given as it depends on three factors – the number of valid lawsuits filed, time spent as Facebook users, and how much of an overall settlement pool remains after administrative, legal and other costs have been deducted.
Website information indicates that each successful claimant will receive one point for every month they were an active Facebook user during the over 15-year period before adding up all valid claimant points and dividing by the net settlement fund minus administrative fees to determine an average payout per person.
Prior to that money being dispersed to claimants, plaintiffs’ attorneys and settlement administrators take their cut – often up to 25% – as fees for their services. At a hearing on September 7th, Judge Chhabria dubbed this request as being for “Nick Bosa money.”
If you do receive a settlement payment, it will be sent directly to the address listed on your Facebook account. According to the settlement website, prices could start arriving as early as October if all appeals have been resolved without filings pending, but depending on when and if claims were processed, it may take months longer; also, there’s an extensive FAQs page that covers many frequently asked questions (FAQs).