Facebook Probably Owes You Money (But You May Not Get Much)
As the headline says, Facebook probably owes you money. Or, to put it in television commercial terms, “If you were a Facebook user in the United States between May 24th, 2007 and December 22nd, 2022, you may be entitled to compensation.” That’s because Meta (Facebook’s parent company) has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action suit that claimed the platform shared customer data with third parties without properly monitoring how that data was accessed and shared. So, if you were impacted, you can now file a claim in order to get a share of that payout.
In order to file a claim, you can visit the Facebook User Privacy Settlement site. By the way, if you’re concerned about the legitimacy of the site, you may find an alert on your Facebook account notifying you about the settlement and linking you to the page. Currently, the deadline for opting-out of the lawsuit is July 26th while the deadline for filing a claim is August 25th, 2023. A final approval hearing is set for September 2023.
To get started, you’ll need to enter some basic personal information (oh, the irony) such as your name, address, email address, and phone number. Then, you’ll need to attest that you were in the United States and were a Facebook user during the specified time period. In order to further confirm that, you can provide the email address, phone number, and username associated with your account. If you, like me, aren’t 100% sure of what your username actually is, rather than guess, they do provide instructions on how to find that info.
Finally, before “signing” your document and submitting your claim, you’ll be able to choose a payout method. Currently, there are five options: a Mastercard prepaid card, PayPal transfer, Venmo transfer, direct deposit to a bank account, or Zelle. Personally, I went with the PayPal option for simplicity’s sake. This required me to enter the email address for my PayPal account and confirm it using an emailed code.
After that, my claim was filed. Despite the pop-up stating that it could take two to three days to get a confirmation, I got one only minutes later. Still, I decided to “print” the page as a PDF just because.
Now that we’ve gone through the details about how to file your claim, let’s talk about reality. While $725 million certainly sounds like a lot, it is projected that Facebook had more than 240 million users in the United States as of last year. It seems unlikely that each one of them would end up filing a claim but, if they did, that’s only three bucks per person. Plus, that’s before lawyer fees or other considerations are taken into effect.
Thus, something south of $20 and hopefully north of $5 seems like a reasonable final payout. That’s not a terrible bonus considering how little time it takes you to fill out the form… but I’m sure plenty of people will be disappointed (more by the seemingly light punishment for Meta rather than the low check amount itself).
Overall, with this lawsuit settlement, I’m expecting something similar to the Equifax breach. With that, despite a $380.5 million fund, my PayPal payout (which eventually arrived in December of last year), was $6.97. On a personal note, however, I’m more angry about that one since at least I signed up to be a customer of Facebook — that wasn’t the case for Equifax. In any case, seeing as I’m not a lawyer, I cannot advise you on whether or not you should file a claim for this Meta settlement. But, as a personal finance blogger, I can say that you might get a couple of dollars out of it if you do.