Meta Agrees to $725 Million Settlement for Facebook Data Sharing Without User Consent

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In a significant development, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has reached a class-action settlement of $725 million earlier this year. This settlement addresses allegations that Facebook improperly shared users’ data without obtaining appropriate consent, sparking concerns over user privacy and data protection.

Opportunity for Compensation: Act Before August 25

Individuals impacted by these allegations now have the chance to claim a portion of this substantial settlement. However, time is of the essence, as the deadline for applications is rapidly approaching – this Friday, August 25.

Eligibility and Process

Former and current Facebook users who accessed the platform between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, are eligible to file a claim. This includes users who no longer maintain active Facebook accounts. The controversy centered around Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm, which was accused of illicitly accessing personal data of 87 million users via a quiz app on the platform, all without proper consent.

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Steps to Claim Compensation from the Settlement

To be eligible for compensation, you must submit a claim. Failure to do so will render you ineligible for any payment. Additionally, pursuing an individual lawsuit against Facebook for the same privacy violation will not be possible if you choose not to submit a claim.

The process starts by completing a straightforward claim form. This can be done either by mailing a printed form or by submitting it online at facebookuserprivacysettlement.com. Current Facebook users may have received in-app notifications or website links guiding them to the settlement page and instructions.

Essential details such as email addresses, phone numbers, usernames, or user IDs are required to verify accounts. Payment information is also necessary to facilitate compensation transfers. If you no longer have your Facebook account, providing approximate years of account activity based on your memory is acceptable. Retrieving old sign-up and cancellation emails could help accurately pinpoint dates.

Claim Deadline and Potential Compensation

The deadline for submitting claims is set for 11:59 PM Pacific time on Friday, August 25, 2023.

While the exact payout per user is not predetermined, it’s essential to manage expectations. The final compensation sum will depend on various factors, including the total number of claim submissions.

The bulk of the settlement will be allocated to cover legal fees for attorneys involved, potentially up to 25 percent of the $725 million, or slightly over $180 million. Named plaintiffs in the case might receive up to $15,000 each. The remaining funds will be distributed among affected Facebook users who have filed claims.

Significance of Filing a Claim

Despite the potential modesty of compensation, experts recommend initiating the claim process. Beyond receiving a sum that might cover a few indulgences, such settlements also serve as a message to corporations about accountability.

Adam Zimmerman, a class action specialist and professor of law at USC Gould School of Law, underscores, “Consumer class actions primarily aim for deterrence rather than just compensation, even if the dollar amount is relatively low.”

Anticipating Payment Timeline

While the final settlement approval hearing is slated for September, potential delays due to legal and bureaucratic procedures, including appeals, could impact the payment timeline. If approved, the payment process might not commence for at least another 90 days, according to Zimmerman.

As the application deadline approaches, those who qualify are encouraged to take swift action to ensure their share of the settlement amount.

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