Facebook may owe you even more money: Meta settles yet another privacy lawsuit


By Michael Grothaus

Facebook’s owner, Meta Platforms, has agreed to settle another class-action lawsuit brought against it due to alleged privacy violations. And yes, this is a different class-action settlement from the one that Meta agreed to last month. That settlement revolved around Facebook sharing user data without users’ knowledge. This new settlement revolves around location data. Here’s what you need to know:

    What’s happened? Meta has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against it in which Facebook was accused of tracking users’ location even when the user had denied the Facebook app on iOS and Android phones access to the device’s location. In other words, even though Facebook no longer had access to the phone’s location functionality, the app allegedly still inferred the user’s location via the device’s IP address. As part of the settlement, Facebook will pay $37.5 million to affected parties.

    Has Facebook admitted wrongdoing? Nope. But that’s usually par for the course for these types of class-action settlements. Companies agree to pay out instead of incurring increasing legal fees to fight the allegations in court.

    Who can claim under the settlement? According to the settlement website, with few exceptions, most persons residing in the United States between January 30, 2015, and April 18, 2018, and who used the Facebook app but who had turned off Location Access for the Facebook app on their iOS or Android device at any time during the period, and whose location information was then inferred by Facebook via the user’s device’s IP address, can make a claim for part of the $37.5 million. But there’s a catch.

    What’s the catch? Given the sheer number of Facebook users who may be able to make a claim, payouts may be economically or administratively infeasible. If the court rules that the payouts are infeasible, the settlement payment will then be distributed to not-for-profit organizations. If this happens, Facebook is still being monetarily penalized, but the fine will go to nonprofits instead of users.

    How much will I get? That depends on how many people make a claim and if individual payments to users are deemed economically and administratively feasible. Legal and administration fees will be deducted from the $37.5 million first, and then the remaining funds will be distributed to claimants. 

    How do I make a claim? If you think you are eligible to be a claimant, you can fill out an online form on the official settlement website here. You can also print and mail in a paper form, which is found here.

    What is the deadline for claims? If you mail in the paper form, it must be postmarked by August 11, 2023. If you are submitting via the online form, you must do so by 11:59 p.m. PST on August 11, 2023.

    Do I have other options? If you don’t make a claim by the deadline, you give up your right to receive part of the settlement and give up your right to file legal proceedings against Facebook over this issue yourself. If you opt out of the settlement, you won’t receive any money, but you will retain your right to sue Facebook individually. You can also object to the settlement. If you want to opt out, you must do so by August 11, 2023. If you want to object, you just do so by October 5, 2023. Full details can be found on the settlement website.

    When will I get my money? That depends on whether the settlement is approved by the court or if the case is delayed in some way. But right now the final approval hearing is scheduled for October 19, so you would receive your payment after that date at the earliest.

Fast Company