Facebook has agreed a $725m (£568m) settlement in an American class action lawsuit over allegations that it shared private information with third-party companies – but who can claim a share?
Meta agreed to settle in the case, but has denied breaking any law.
Among the companies named in the lawsuit was former political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which was at the centre of the Facebook data scandal that was exposed in 2018.
A UK-based class action suit was launched in January 2022, and is still ongoing.
Who can claim from Facebook?
Anyone who lived in the US and had a Facebook account between 24 May 2007 and 22 December 2022 is eligible to receive a share of the settlement.
You do not have to be American to claim, so if you are British and lived in the US during that period you can receive your share of the money.
Claims can also be made for Facebook users who have died. These should be filed under the name of the deceased person.
How do you make a claim from Facebook?
People can either claim online, or by post. The deadline to file a claim online is 11.59pm on 25 August, 2023. If you post your claim, it must be postmarked by this date.
You will need to enter your name, address and email, as well as confirming that you were a Facebook user and lived in the US during the qualifying period.
You will also need all Facebook usernames associated with your account. You can find your username by going to Account > Settings and Privacy > Settings > User name.
To claim online, fill out this form. To claim by post you can download the form here.
How much can people get?
The amount you receive will depend on how many people make a claim, as the $725m sum is being split between all Facebook users who apply.
Facebook users who had accounts for the longest during the eligibility period are entitled to the most money, with those who had accounts for a shorter period receiving less.
Payments are expected to be sent out following final approval, which is currently scheduled for 7 September 2023.
You can choose how you will be paid on your claim form. The options are via PayPal, a prepaid Mastercard or a physical cheque that will be sent to your address.
Can you claim from the UK?
You must have lived in the US and had a Facebook account between 24 May 2007 and 22 December 2022 to make a claim in this suit.
However, a UK-based class action suit was launched in January 2022, and is still ongoing.
The group, headed by international competition law expert Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, is suing for £2.2bn in damages for a period from 2016 to 2019.
The case argues that Meta has broken the 1998 Competition Act by setting an “unfair price” for Facebook’s UK users when they access the service – this price being the personal data handed over by users, which Meta uses to generate the majority of its income through advertising.
Dr Lovdahl Gormsen said: “They are exploiting users by taking their personal data without properly compensating them for taking that data. I don’t think the users are entirely clear when they click on the terms and conditions how unfair that deal is.”
The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal paused the progress of the suit earlier this year, amid concerns over the validity of the methodology used to calculate potential damages.
The class representative says it “intends to use the six-month stay which has now been ordered by the tribunal to prepare additional evidence which will set out a new and better blueprint for the trial of the claim”.
A Meta spokesperson said: “People access our service for free. They choose our services because we deliver value for them and they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who with. We have invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do so.”