Facebook users can now apply for their share of the company’s $725M settlement

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If you had an active Facebook account between May 2007 and December 2022, you might be eligible for financial compensation.

Last month, a California federal judge granted preliminary approval for a $725 million settlement between Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and users who claimed their data was made available to third parties without their consent. This settlement stems from a class-action lawsuit that arose after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, where it was reported that the data firm, which collaborated with the Trump campaign, obtained the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users to target voters. This discovery sparked international outrage and led to a legal battle.

Although Meta denies any wrongdoing, in December, the company agreed to pay the massive settlement to avoid the risks and costs of a trial, as stated on the settlement website. Additionally, the company has been fined a record $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for violating privacy laws. However, CNN reports that following the Cambridge Analytica incident, Facebook implemented changes such as limiting third-party access to user data and enhancing communications to users about how their data is gathered and distributed.

“We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders,” said Meta spokesperson Dina Luce, per CNN. “Over the last three years, we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”

As reported by USA Today, court documents state that the settlement covers approximately 250 to 280 million Facebook users. While there isn’t a 1-800 number to call, like in the commercials, there is a claim form. To qualify for the settlement, you must have had a Facebook account in the U.S. between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, and must file a claim online by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 25 — or mail a submission postmarked by Aug. 25.

The amount received will depend on how long you were a Facebook user during the eligibility period and how many other users submit valid claims. However, the final settlement payment amount will also be determined after legal fees and expenses are deducted from the $725 million.

The final approval hearing is scheduled for Sept. 7; claims will be paid out after the court grants its final decision and any appeals are resolved.

Source: Thegrio Staff

Image: Osarugue Igbinoba/Unsplash