If you used Facebook in 2010 or 2011, it is certain that your data was harvested by the social media giant. The Facebook tracking class action lawsuit filed against them 11 years ago accused Mark Zuckerberg’s platform of tracking users across other websites even after they logged off the social media website. Today, the U.S. District Court for Nothern California approved a $90 million class action settlement to resolve the claims.
Millions of Facebook users are eligible for a portion of the settlement if they visited other sites between April 25, 2010, and September 25, 2011, that displayed the Facebook “Like” button.
According to a release from law firm DiCello Levitt Gutzler, Facebook’s lawsuit represents the seventh-largest data privacy class action settlement ever to be approved by a District Court.
The Facebook tracking class action lawsuit has been making headlines lately, however, it is not the biggest class-action lawsuit settlement a Big Tech company is facing these days, considering a $258 million class action was recently proposed against Elon Musk. Find out what is happening with this case and how you can be eligible for a settlement check from a multi-billion dollar company.
What Is Facebook Being Accused Of?
The plaintiffs allege that Facebook tracked people’s activities on non-Facebook websites, even when they were signed out of their accounts. Tracking cookies were allegedly placed on websites that use their “Like” button even if the user did not interact with this plugin, allowing them to collect consumer activity and track users across the web without consent. These claims resulted in a massive class action lawsuit against the social media giant for violating user privacy by installing these cookies on third-party sites, where one may have simply clicked through someone else’s ad banner without realizing it.
“When Facebook’s session and tracking cookies link the URLs to specific persons, anonymity disappears,” the Facebook tracking class action lawsuit alleges. “Facebook can link the web browsing of more than one billion people to their actual identities.”
In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, Case No. 5:12-MD-02314-EJD
In a suit filed in district court in California in 2011, they alleged that such monitoring violated the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
When Facebook was first publicized for storing information after users logged out, it came as a shock to many people. The company claims that they quickly remove uniquely identifying data in post-logout cookies and do not use this cookie data when tracking user behavior on different sites or apps, but rather personalize content on their own platform.
However, according to a complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California, in 2011, “This admission came only after an Australian technology blogger exposed Facebook’s practice of monitoring members who have logged out, although he brought the problems to the defendant’s attention a year ago.”
How Much Did Facebook Agree To Settle For?
Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, has agreed to a $90 million settlement, although it “expressly denies any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever,” according to the court filings. The deal comes after The Supreme Court refused to review an appeals court’s decision to revive the complaint.
Meta didn’t respond to a request for comment.
So, Who Is Eligible To Claim Money?
If you were a user between April 22nd, 2010, and September 25th, 2011 then there is a potential that your information may have ended up being shared without consent and you are eligible to be a class member.
The claims administrator, Angeion, has begun to email class members, so if you received a personalized notice in the mail or via email, you need to go to the claims site and enter the Notice ID and Confirmation Code you were provided with.
The deadline to opt out of the settlement has passed, but you can still file your own lawsuit if it’s not too late. The last day for individuals who want this option is September 12th and anyone with questions about how they might qualify should contact an experienced attorney immediately.
The final approval hearing for the Facebook tracking class action settlement is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2022. In order to receive benefits from the settlement, class members must submit a valid claim form by Sept. 22, 2022.
How Much Money Could You Receive?
Under the terms of the Facebook tracking class action settlement, the company will pay out $90 million dollars to class members. The more people who participate, the smaller payments will be – and vice versa. It isn’t yet clear how many class members there will be or how much each individual will receive.
In 2021, Facebook agreed to pay $650 million in a class action settlement that alleged they broke Illinois’ biometric laws by collecting and storing users’ physical characteristics without their consent, but this is just one example of how many people have been affected by their practices. In Illinois alone, there are nearly 1 million victims who each received payment worth almost 400 dollars.
When Will Facebook Settlement Checks Go Out?
The court will decide about the settlement on October 27, but there may be appeals.
“It is always uncertain whether appeals will be filed and, if so, how long it will take to resolve them,” according to the settlement site. “Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible.”