Facebook Released Details of Its Privacy Class Action Settlement

This relates to the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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The good news is, Facebook probably owes you money.
Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that Facebook’s parent company Meta owes you money. That is what’s known as “the good news.” Where things get a little trickier is when it comes to the actual sums of money involved. Late last year, as you may recall, Meta announced that it would pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook users’ personal information was improperly shared.

A description of the class action settlement notes that eligibility comes down to to questions: did you use Facebook between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022? And were or are you based in the United States? Then you qualify. But if everyone who qualifies files a claim, that $725 million is going to be drained relatively quickly.

Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next — a trade organization focusing on digital content — addressed the announcement on Twitter. “Just a heads up if you do it, your reward will likely cover a free meal while Facebook built one of the largest and most influential media properties in history by growth hacking off of your personal data mined across your life and then covered it up,” he wrote.

Kint also pointed out what the settlement did not have. “No accountability for Zuckerberg or Sandberg. No admission of liability,” he stated. “No public awareness to users if their data went to hostile countries.”

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According to the dedicated website set up for the settlement, the final approval hearing for the settlement is set to take place on September 7, 2023. Members of the class in the lawsuit have until July 26 to file or postmark their comments or objections.

Can a settlement in the high nine figures be described as “underwhelming”? If there’s a lack of transparency around it, it might just be more accurate than Meta would like.

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