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Recap: If you were a Facebook user between May 24, 2007, and Dec 22, 2022, the social media giant probably owes you money from a $725 million settlement – and you've only got one month left to claim it. Don't expect to see a huge amount of cash, but something for nothing is always good.
The settlement originates from Meta's most controversial incident in its history (so far): Cambridge Analytica. The now-defunct British political consulting firm harvested the personal data of almost 90 million users without their consent for targeted political ads during the 2016 US presidential campaign and the UK's Brexit referendum. That was four years ago, but it was only last December when Meta agreed to pay $725 million to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit over sharing users' personal data with third parties.
If you did have a Facebook account and lived in the US between May 24, 2007, and Dec 22, 2022, you have until 11:59 pm PT on August 25 to grab your share of the payout. You can claim by filing a form at Facebookuserprivacysettlement.com, which asks for your name, address, email address, and some date confirmations.
Meta's payment options
You probably shouldn't start planning on buying a yacht just yet, though. While it's unclear how much each person will receive as individual amounts depend on how many claim, the $725 million figure includes legal and administrative fees. The longer you were a user during the specific period, the more you'll get, but with over 200 million US Facebook users, it's hard to imagine that it'll be a lot of money. Still, free is free.
Applicants can also request applications by phone, or print them off and mail them to the settlement administrator. You can choose to receive your share via prepaid Mastercard, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, a direct deposit, or a paper check.
Cambridge Analytica proved to be Facebook/Meta's most costly privacy violation. In addition to the $725 million settlement, the company was forced to pay the FTC a $5 billion fine and $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company admits no wrongdoing, naturally.
In other recent Meta news, the company just had its best quarter since 2021, despite its Reality Labs division, responsible for the metaverse, losing $13.7 billion, taking its total losses since 2020 to over $40 billion.