Tech giant Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has reached a settlement with plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit came after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that shook the social platform five years ago. The political consulting firm exploited a loophole and used a quiz app to access the personal information of over 80 million Facebook users residing in the US. As a result, approximately 85 million people are eligible to participate and potentially qualify for a piece of the $725 million settlement.
The social media company denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay out the lump sum to users located in the USA who have been affected by the scandal and have used the social platform at some point over the last fifteen years. Any Facebook users in the United States between May 24th, 2007, and December 22nd, 2022, are eligible to participate in the class action suit. People who do not submit a claim will not get any money, so anyone interested in participating needs to file a claim at https://www.facebookuserprivacysettlement.com/. Individual Facebook users can receive only one payment per person even if the claimant has had multiple accounts over the years.
Submitting a claim is easy and consists of filling in general questions such as name, address, and contact details. Claimants must also answer a few basic questions and include emails, usernames, and phone numbers associated with the account. Class-action suit participants are also asked to pick how they wish to receive their share of the settlement – options include PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, MasterCard, and a direct deposit via ACH. Affected Facebook users have a few more months to file a claim as the deadline for final submissions is August 25th, 2023.
Participating in the settlement will likely not feel like a windfall for many as each claimant’s funds would probably not be enough for a drink after work. The more people submit eligible claims, the less money everyone will get. As seen quite often, the giant corporation would just get a slap on the wrist that won’t affect them much – based on 2020 data, Facebook makes approximately $235 million in profit a day. The only proper winner will likely be the team of lawyers of the plaintiff, who will take a massive chunk of the court ruling, estimated to be around 25% of the settlement.
The final hearing is expected to happen in September, and payouts would start rolling at least ninety days after that. So don’t be too excited about the free drink from Mark Zuckerberg, as money will likely reach your account around Christmas or early next year.