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Time Is Running Out to File a Claim in Facebook’s $90 Million Data-Tracking Settlement | #socialmedia | #hacking | #aihp

If you were a Facebook user back in 2010 you could be eligible for part of a massive $90 million payout stemming from accusations the company illicitly tracked users across other websites. You’ll need to act soon, though: The deadline to file a claim is barely two weeks away.

Plaintiffs in Davis v. Facebook allege the social media giant was aware it violated privacy, communications and wiretap laws — and its own customer contracts — when it tracked logged-out users to other sites that had Facebook’s “Like” button on them.

In 2020, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Facebook profiting from the sale of users’ data constituted a breach of privacy causing economic harm. When the US Supreme Court declined to review the case last year, settlement negotiations began. 

In June 2022, a California district court gave preliminary approval for a class-action settlement — one including the $90 million payout and a promise by Facebook that it would delete any improperly collected data. A final approval hearing for that settlement is scheduled for Oct. 27.

Read on to find out whether you’re eligible for money from Facebook, as well as how much you could receive and when payments might go out.

For more on class action cases, find out if you qualify for money from T-Mobile’s $350 million data breach case, Apple’s $14.8 Million iCloud storage settlement or Capital One’s $190 million cybersecurity payout.

What is Facebook accused of in the data-tracking lawsuit?

The plaintiffs allege that Facebook tracked people’s activities on external websites, even when they were signed out of their Facebook accounts, by installing cookies on users’ computers.

In a 2011 suit filed in US District Court in San Jose, California, they claimed such monitoring violated the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, among other statutes.

That year, Facebook disclosed that it personalized content by placing cookies onto users’ computers that remained active even when they were logged out. The company told CNET at the time that it quickly removed uniquely identifying data from post-logout cookies and that it didn’t store or use data from cookies for tracking.

But according to the lawsuit, “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.” 

Facebook parent Meta Platforms didn’t respond to a request for comment though, according to the settlement, it “expressly denies any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever.” 

The 2011 suit alleges Facebook’s use of cookies violated the Federal Wiretap Act and other laws.

blackred/iStock/Getty Images

Who is eligible to receive money in the Facebook settlement?

US Facebook users who, between April 22, 2010, and Sept. 25, 2011, visited websites that displayed the Facebook “Like” button are eligible to be recipients, or “class members,” in the case.

When is the deadline to file a claim in the Facebook settlement?

The claims administrator, Angeion, has already emailed eligible class members. If you received a personalized notice in the mail or via email, go to the claims site and enter the Notice ID and Confirmation Code you were provided with.

If you believe you’re eligible but weren’t contacted, you can also file a claim on your own — but the deadline is Sept. 22, 2022. Individuals who want to opt out of the settlement and reserve the right to file your own legal claims,  you have until Sept. 12.

If you do nothing, you won’t get a payment and you’ll give up the right to sue or be part of another lawsuit relating to the case.

How much money could I receive?

How much individual class members get in the settlement depends on how many people file valid claims. According to the settlement website, “no settlement class member will receive a greater, or lesser, payment than any other settlement class Member.”

The court has scheduled a final approval hearing on Oct. 27, 2022, when  it will consider whether the $90 million settlement is “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

In 2021, Facebook agreed to a $650 million settlement to a suit that alleged it broke Illinois’ biometric laws by collecting and storing users’ physical characteristics without their consent. Nearly 1.6 million Facebook users in the state each received $397 payouts. 

When will Facebook settlement checks go out?

After the court makes a final decision about the settlement on Oct. 27, payments are typically required to be distributed within 90 days. But there may be appeals that delay the process.

“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.”

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