In the United States, citizens have a right to privacy. Therefore, personal data can only be shared in ways you agree to. This is why the recent Facebook privacy litigation involving parent company Meta has created such a buzz. Meta settled for 725 million dollars in damages that they owe to their users for their alleged breach of privacy. With an estimated 239 million users in the United States, there is a good chance that you are included in this settlement whether you choose to act or not. This page provides details of the case, outlines the eligibility criteria for payment, and addresses frequently asked questions that may arise during the process.
Background of the Case
What did Facebook do to bring about these lawsuits against them? Well, allegedly, Facebook allowed third parties (someone besides you and Facebook) access to your data and did not control what they did with it. Therefore, advertisers, other apps, business partners, and data brokers had access to the information Facebook collected on you while you used the app. Due to the high number of lawsuits, they were consolidated into one lawsuit called a class action lawsuit. Facebook maintains that it did nothing wrong, but instead of going to trial, it agreed to settle for a total of 725 million dollars. The deadline to file a claim under this lawsuit is August 25, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
Can I Claim Money Under the Facebook Settlement?
Were you using Facebook in the United States between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022? If the answer to that question is yes, then you can submit a claim under this lawsuit.
That’s right folks. If you had an active Facebook account and lived in the United States at any point between those two dates, then this settlement is for you.
What information do I need to provide to claim money?
In order to submit a claim and receive a settlement, a form will need to be filled out on the official settlement website. There, you will provide your general contact information and answer three questions about your residence, Facebook usage, and type of account (current, deleted, or both). From there, you will provide all associated email addresses, phone numbers, and usernames associated with your account. There are a few different ways that you can receive payment, and depending on which you select, you may need to provide further details. For instance, a Venmo or PayPal payment might require a phone number to ensure the settlement is sent to the correct account. If you do not wish to provide any extra information to receive your position of the settlement, you may choose a prepaid MasterCard.
How do I find my Facebook username?
For better success in receiving your settlement, it is important to include your Facebook username in the submittal form. Your username can be located under account settings in the app or online. Where to find this information will vary depending on whether you are on the computer or your phone, so we will break down the steps below.
Step for Facebook’s Website:
Go to “Account”
Click on “Settings & Privacy”
And finally, “Username”
Steps for Facebook’s Mobile App:
Select your display name at the top of the screen
Select the “…” next to “Edit Profile”
Your username is shown under “Your Profile Link”
Your accounts may have moved to the Meta Accounts Center, and in that case, you will follow steps 1-3 from the website option and continue with the steps below.
4. Click on “See more in Accounts Center”
5. Then “Profiles”
6. Select Facebook profile
7. Finally, click “Username”
What if I deleted my account?
The time period of the lawsuit is from 2007 to 2022. Therefore, if your account was active at any point during that time, you may be entitled to a portion of the settlement. However, accounts that were active for longer during that period are likely to receive more money in the settlement. If you have deleted your account and created a new one, you can find the answer in the section below.
Do I get more money if I have multiple accounts?
The short answer here is no. As long as the accounts were created in the settlement timeframe ( May 2007- December 2022), they are eligible for the claim, though only one claim can be made per person. However, if you deleted an account and created a new one, both accounts may be listed to show the extent of time you had an active profile on Facebook. On the Claim Form, you will be asked if you are “filing a claim for a current account, deleted account, or a combination of both?” If it applies, select the “Current and Deleted Account” option and list all affiliated contact information for both accounts, such as emails, usernames, or phone numbers.
Can I file a claim for a deceased person?
You can file a claim for a deceased person, but you will need proper documentation. The process is relatively simple. You must file a claim under the deceased person’s name and with their Facebook details. To change the beneficiary’s name, a copy of the death certificate (or will) must be provided along with an explanation of the request to change beneficiaries. The email can be sent through the Secure Portal on the claim site. This process can also be completed by mail with a letter explanation and applicable documentation to the address listed below.
Facebook User Privacy Settlement
Attn: Name Change
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
How much money will I get?
The settlement amount will be based on how long you were a user during the settlement class period and how many others submitted valid claims. The total settlement amount will be divided between the claimants (people who submitted a claim) based on a point system. That means that all of the information you submitted on the form will be translated into points depending on how your privacy was impacted and for how long. The more points assigned to you, the higher the payout is likely to be.
How long does it take to receive my settlement?
Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as the court grants final approval of the settlement and all appeals are resolved. If an appeal is launched at this hearing, the payments will be postponed until the resolution date. The Final Approval hearing is set for September 7, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. PDT.
How To Opt Out of the Settlement and Why
If you opt out of the settlement, you will receive no compensation from this case, but you will retain your ability to sue Facebook in a new, continued, or different case related to the legal claims addressed in this lawsuit. Therefore, if you are already in a lawsuit with Facebook or you have your own legal counsel, you would opt out of this settlement. You must submit a completed and signed opt-out request online or by U.S. mail.
Deadline for electronic opt-out requests is 11:59 p.m. PDT on or before July 26, 2023.
Deadline for a written opt-out request must be postmarked by July 26, 2023.
What if I Don’t Do Anything?
Everyone who qualifies for the settlement is automatically a part of it. However, you will not receive a settlement payment from this lawsuit if you do not submit a claim. Also, by choosing not to opt out you are giving up the right to sue Facebook in another lawsuit related to the legal claims of this case.
Opted Out and Need an Attorney?
For folks who opted out before 7/26/23 and plan to sue separately about the legal issues or factual allegations in this case, Expertise.com has a directory for litigation attorneys in your state who can help you with your case against Facebook. A litigation attorney defends people in civil cases (nobody is going to jail) and allows them to seek financial compensation for the damages suffered, such as the privacy breach in this case. Check the directory to find a qualified attorney for your needs.
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