Facebook users who had an active account at any point between May 2007 and December 2022 can now apply to receive a piece of parent company Meta’s $725 million settlement related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Meta in December agreed to the payment to settle a longstanding class action lawsuit accusing it of allowing Cambridge Analytica and other third parties to access private user information and misleading users about its privacy practices.
The legal battle began four years ago, following an international outcry from the company’s disclosure that the private information of as many as 87 million Facebook users was obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with the Trump campaign.
The California judge overseeing the case granted preliminary approval of the settlement late last month, and Facebook users can now apply for a cash payment as part of a settlement.
The claim form — which requires a few personal details and information about a user’s Facebook account — can be filled out online or printed and submitted by mail. The form takes only a few minutes to complete and must be submitted by August 25 to be included as part of the settlement.
Any US Facebook user who had an active account sometime between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, is eligible to be part of the settlement class, including those who have since deleted their accounts.
It’s not yet clear how much each settlement payment will be. The fund will be distributed to class members who submit valid claims based on how long they had an active Facebook account during the relevant period, according to a frequently asked questions page on the settlement site.
A final settlement approval hearing is set for September 7. Settlement payments will be distributed after the court’s approval, assuming there are no appeals.
Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Facebook has made changes in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica incident, including restricting third-party access to user data and improving communications to users about how their data is collected and shared.
“We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders,” Meta spokesperson Dina Luce said in a statement following the December settlement agreement. “Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program. We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”
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