If you're a U.S. Facebook user, you may be owed a payout as part of a new $90 million Class Action Lawsuit against the company.
According to a press release dated June 24, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted "preliminary approval" of a $90 million settlement with Facebook's parent company involving the famous "Like" button.
The suit addresses a "long-running class action accusing Facebook of tracking its subscribers’ activities on non-Facebook websites –- even while signed out of their Facebook accounts."
According to the press release, the class action suit applies to Facebook users in the United States who, between April 22, 2010, and Sept. 25, 2011, visited non-Facebook websites that displayed Facebook's "Like" button.
According to the claims administrator, the company "denies that it violated any law but has agreed to the Settlement to avoid the costs and risks associated with continuing this case."
While individual settlement amounts have not yet been released, the release states that claims administrator Angeion has begun to send out email notifications to eligible class members with instructions on how to file claims.
If you believe you are an eligible Class Member and would like to file a claim, here's how, and what else you need to know.
How do I Know If I'm Eligible to Be Part of the Class Action Lawsuit?
According to the claims administrator, if you are a:
- Person who, between April 2010 and Sept. 2011 were a Facebook user in the United States, AND
- Person who visited non-Facebook websites that displayed the Facebook like button
Then you may be eligible for a payment from a Class Action Settlement.
How Will I Be Notified If I'm a Class Action Member?
The release states that the claims administrator has begun to send out "personalized notices" via email and mail, notifying eligible Class Members with instructions on how to file claims.
These notices will continue to be distributed through July 15, 2022, the release states.
I Think I'm an Eligible Class Action Member. How Do I File a Claim?
If you did not receive a personalized notice indicating you are an eligible Class Member, but you believe you should be included, you can still file a claim.
"Even those who do not receive an email notice are still permitted to file a claim, and the administrator will determine whether they are eligible," the release states.
Is There a Deadline to Submit a Claim?
The deadline to submit a claim is 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2022.
When Will I Receive My Payout?
According to the claim's administrator, here's the timeline on what happens next, and when payouts are expected to begin:
First, the Court has scheduled a "Final Fairness Hearing for the Settlement of this case" on Oct. 27, 2022 at 9 a.m.
At that time, the court will decided whether or not to approve the settlement. After that, appeals may follow.
"It is always uncertain whether appeals will be filed and, if so, how long it will take to resolve them," the claims administrator says. "Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible, if and when the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved."
How Much Money Will Each Payout Be?
Settlement amounts have not yet been released.
According to the claims administrator, "If you submit an Approved Claim and have not submitted a valid and timely request for exclusion from the Settlement Class, you will receive an equal share of the Net Settlement Fund."
Is This Part of Illinois' Recent Facebook Class Action Settlement?
No, but it is coming shortly after.
The current suit, filed by the law firm DiCello Levitt Gutzler, follows a recent $650 million suit in Illinois that impacted nearly 1.5 million residents. That class action lawsuit only applied to Illinois residents as it alleged Facebook broke the state's strict privacy law by collecting and storing biometric data -- or physical characteristics -- of users without their consent through features including facial recognition technology.
Facebook users might recognize this feature as "Tag Suggestions" notifications.
The deadline to apply for that class action lawsuit passed in 2020, and users began receiving checks in the amount of $397 in May.