Facebook users who had an account at any point from May 2007 to December 2022 can now apply for their share of parent company Meta’s $725m privacy settlement.
Meta agreed to the payment in December following a four-year class action lawsuit that accused the tech company of allowing millions of its users’ personal information to be accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Following the settlement, a claim form has been made accessible to Facebook users in the US who had an active account anytime between 24 May 2007 and 22 December 2022.
To collect a portion of the settlement, users must fill out the claim form using the website before 25 August 2023 at 11.59pm PT. The process is quick and simple, and requires users, including those who have deleted their Facebook accounts, to provide their name, address, email, and phone number, as well as the email tied to their Facebook account and their Facebook username.
Additionally, users are required to choose their preferred method for receiving the payment, such as Zelle, Venmo or a prepaid Mastercard, and sign the claim form.
Facebook users who wish to submit the claim by mail can do so by printing the form and mailing it to: Facebook Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, c/o Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
As of now, individual payouts have not been established, as the amount will depend on the number of users who submit claims and how long each user had their Facebook account, according to CNBC. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Facebook had 2.96 billion monthly active users worldwide, according to market and consumer data site Statista.
It is also not clear when users can expect the payment. However, the settlement website states that a final approval hearing for the settlement of the case is expected to take place on 7 September 2023. “Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved,” the site states in the FAQ section.
The legal battle began in 2018 over revelations that Cambridge Analytica paid a Facebook app developer for access to the personal information of roughly 87 million users of the platform. The data was then used to target US voters during the 2016 campaign, which culminated in Trump’s election as the 45th president.
Although Meta denies the allegations, it agreed to the settlement to “avoid the costs and risks of a trial,” according to the settlement website. However, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg previously testified in front of Congress, and apologised for not doing “more at the time”.