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Facebook has reached settlements in a couple of class-action lawsuits, and that means if you used the social media platform over the last 15 years, you’re probably owed a payout.
Meta, Inc. (the parent company of Facebook) settled a class-action lawsuit for $725 million, compensating users who claimed that their personal information was not adequately protected. They also reached a $37.5 million settlement to address allegations of improper location tracking, paying eligible users who had location services turned off during a specific period.
The privacy lawsuit was originally filed back in 2018, and the location tracking lawsuit was filed in September 2022. In both cases, Facebook has settled and will pay customers a total of $762.5 million without admitting any wrongdoing. (But there are even more Facebook settlements swirling around, too.)
We’ve got all the info about these class-action settlements right here.
If you used Facebook at any point in the last 15 years, you’re eligible for the data breach settlement payout.
Anyone who used Facebook in the U.S. between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, is eligible for a payout from the $725 million settlement fund. That’s anyone, regardless of age — so long as you’re not a Facebook/Meta employee. That’s because Meta has settled a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of not adequately protecting users’ personal information. The lawsuit alleged that Facebook allowed other companies to access users’ data without permission, including information about their friends.
So now, Meta has agreed to pay a whopping $725 million to affected customers. While they deny any wrongdoing, this settlement aims to compensate users who were impacted by the data breach. The best part is that you don’t need any proof to qualify for the settlement — so if you’ve used Facebook during the specified period, you’re eligible for a potential payout.
Each settlement class member may only file one claim.
And if you turned off Facebook location services off between 2015-2018, you could be eligible for a second settlement.
At pretty much the same time, Meta has resolved another class-action lawsuit related to Facebook location tracking. The lawsuit claimed that Facebook improperly tracked users’ locations, even when they had specifically turned off location services in their Facebook app.
Facebook has agreed to a settlement amount of $37.5 million. This settlement is designed to provide compensation to Facebook users in the United States who had their location services turned off on their iOS or Android smartphones between January 30, 2015, and April 18, 2018. Just like the data breach settlement, no proof is required to qualify for the location tracking settlement.
You have to file claims by Aug. 11 & 25, 2023, to qualify for the settlements.
Although proof isn’t required to get a settlement, if you qualify for either the data breach settlement or the location tracking settlement, you must file a claim to receive your payout.
For the location tracking settlement, the deadline to submit a claim form is Aug. 11, 2023. For the data breach settlement, the claim filing deadline is Aug. 25, 2023.
To file a claim, you’ll need to provide some information to confirm your eligibility and to process your claim. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, and Facebook user ID or a link to your Facebook profile. If you have documentation to support your claim, such as emails or screenshots, you can include them as evidence, but it’s not required.
Don’t expect a huge payout — millions of people qualify for the Facebook settlement.
According to how class action lawsuits work, payments usually go out after the court has given final approval to the terms of a settlement. Both lawsuits have final hearings scheduled in August: The data breach settlement hearing will be on Sept. 7, and the location tracking settlement hearing will be on Oct. 19.
In both settlements, when you file a claim, you’ll pick how you want to get paid: Via prepaid Mastercard, PayPal, Venmo (although users have reported difficulties getting this to work), direct deposit, Zelle, or paper check.
Here’s a little more about what to expect from these payouts:
Data Breach Settlement
While $725 million may seem like a massive payout number, it’ll be split between every claimant. That’s a lot of people — potentially around 240 million U.S. users. If all of them made claims, everyone would receive about $3 per person.
That said, not all Facebook users during this period may choose to file a claim or be eligible for a payout. Generally speaking, though, you’d be safe to expect a payout of less than $10, sent within a few months.
Location Tracking Settlement
The total location tracking settlement amount is $37.5 million. The exact payout per person will depend on the number of eligible claims received, but expect it to be even less per person than the data breach settlement’s payout.
There are even more Facebook settlements.
Over the last few years, Facebook has been hammered with class-action lawsuits that take issue with the company’s privacy policies. In every case, Facebook admitted no wrongdoing. Here are three class-action lawsuits that settled recently:
$90 Million ‘Like’ Button Settlement: June 2022
Facebook users filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that the company tracked their web browsing activity without permission using the “Like” button on non-Facebook websites between April 2010 and September 2011. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, agreed to delete all cookie data collected through the Like button during that time as part of the settlement. And they paid users $90 million.
$650 Million Illinois Biometric Settlement: February 2021
Facebook settled for $650 million in 2021 in an Illinois biometric lawsuit. The users alleged that Facebook violated policies by using facial recognition data to automatically recognize users in pictures and videos they uploaded to the platform.