Got a Facebook Account? You’re Owed Money From a Class-Action Lawsuit
If you’ve had a Facebook account anytime during the last 16 years, you’re eligible for a payout from a $725 million class-action lawsuit.
How much money could you actually get? That remains to be seen. It won’t make you wealthy, but you should get something, especially if you’ve been on Facebook for a long time.
It’s worth a try — you have nothing to lose. You have to submit a claim, but that’s not complicated and doesn’t take long.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, recently settled a massive lawsuit alleging that the social media network violated users’ privacy by allowing other companies to access users’ private data without their consent, and that it misled Facebook users about its privacy practices.
If you had a Facebook account between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, in the U.S., you’re eligible to submit a claim. You can file a claim online here. The claim form asks for some basic information about you and your Facebook account, and it takes a few minutes to fill out.
Technically, you have until August to file a claim. But you should probably do it sooner rather than later, so you don’t forget.
How Much Money Will You Get?
The amount of settlement money you’ll receive depends on a few factors, including how many people submit claims and how long you had an active Facebook account between 2007 and 2022.
There are eight named plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit who could receive up to $15,000 each. And of course the lawyers will get their cut — a maximum of 25% of the $725 million settlement could go toward legal fees, according to the settlement website.
Whatever’s left will be divided among everyone else. About 250 million to 280 million Facebook users are eligible for payouts, according to court documents, but the fact is that the vast majority of them won’t submit claims. Probably less than 10% will.
A few years ago, the Federal Trade Commission studied nearly 150 class-action lawsuits and found that about 9% of consumers who were eligible were actually submitting claims.
Since you’re reading this article, you’re ahead of the game.
A federal judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement in March. A final approval hearing is scheduled for September. Payments will go out sometime after that.
What Was This Lawsuit About?
This class-action lawsuit got started after Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining company working with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, got personal data on millions of Facebook users to target voters.
But then the legal fight expanded and went well beyond the political world. A bunch of lawsuits claimed Facebook shared users’ personal information with various business partners, app developers, data brokers and advertisers.
Facebook and its parent company, Meta, deny any wrongdoing but settled this case to avoid the costs and risks of going to trial, according to the settlement’s website. Facebook also says it has revamped its privacy policies.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.