Facebook will pay victims but not admit to violating consumer privacy laws

A $725 million settlement has been proposed between Meta Platforms, Inc., the company that owns Facebook, and plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California over claims the company shared users’ data without their consent.

The lawsuit, known as In re: Facebook, Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, Case No. 3:18-md-02843-VC (N.D. Cal.), alleged that Facebook violated consumer privacy laws.

Any member of the settlement class, which includes Facebook users in the United States between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, is eligible for compensation. You have until Aug. 25, 2023. If you want to opt out of the settlement, you have until July 25.

You’ll need some key information, including an email address, phone number or username or user ID to confirm your account. The form also asks you to share payment information so you can receive the payout. If you no longer have your account, you can note the years it was active to the best of your recollection. You may be able to find your old sign-up and cancellation emails to find the right dates.

If you’ve had multiple Facebook accounts over the years, you can file a claim for only one of them. Users are advised to make a claim for whichever account they had open the longest.

Like most legal settlements, the deal allows Meta to deny any wrongdoing and continue to dispute that it violated consumer privacy laws, but the agreement provides a significant financial payout for the affected Facebook users, totaling millions of dollars.

The exact amount of compensation for each user is yet to be determined and will depend on several factors, including the number of claims submitted.

In addition to the monetary compensation, the settlement agreement includes several changes to Meta’s practices regarding user privacy.

The biggest payout from the settlement will go to legal fees for the lawyers behind it.

Meta will implement new policies aimed at enhancing user privacy protections and increasing transparency regarding the use of user data.

The settlement agreement is subject to court approval, and a hearing is scheduled for later this year. In the meantime, affected Facebook users can expect to receive notifications about their eligibility for compensation.

Facebook has faced numerous privacy-related scandals in recent years, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed that the social media giant had allowed a data firm to harvest personal information from millions of users without their consent.

The settlement could bring some relief to affected users, although it’s unlikely to fully address the concerns surrounding Facebook’s data practices.

As one of the world’s largest tech companies, Facebook has a responsibility to protect user data and ensure that its policies are transparent and ethical.

The settlement represents a significant development in the ongoing conversation about online privacy and the responsibilities of social media companies to protect user data, but it shows that America’s justice system continues to fail when it comes to holding giant companies accountable for their actions and the harmful impact they have on people’s lives.

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