Facebook might owe you some money and now you have the means to collect.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, agreed late last year to pay out $725 million (opens in new tab) to settle the Cambridge Analytica data privacy leak class-action lawsuit.
The now four-year-old case started after journalists discovered the political research firm had collected and shared private data on at least 87 million Facebook users and that Facebook had failed to notify users of the data leak.
Finally, roughly six months after the company settled, an estimated 280 million Facebook members (current and former) may be entitled to a cash payout.
If you’ve already done the math, you know that no one is getting rich off this settlement. Sure, it’s nearly a billion dollars out of Meta’s pocket, but you might see just a few dollars.
This scandal marks what may have been the darkest time in Facebook’s history. It was a massive personal data breach that happened not because Cambridge Analytica hacked Facebook, but because Facebook didn’t pay close attention to what Cambridge Analytica was doing.
In a 2018 interview Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologized (opens in new tab) and admitted it “was a major breach of trust,” and added, “We have a basic responsibility to protect people’s data.”
How to collect your Facebook settlement
Meta and Facebook have made it easy to gather your handful of dollars, launching an online Claim Form (opens in new tab). You have until August 25, 2023, at 11:59 PM PT to fill it out.
The only eligibility requirement is that you must have been a member of Facebook between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022. Even if you deleted Facebook, you can still collect funds.
Granted, the amount of information Meta requests may give you pause, especially considering the company’s data privacy record. Among the requested bits of personal information are your full name, address, email, phone number, and payment information.
That last bit, which includes credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle info, is not so you can pay them, but so Meta can get those few dollars to you.
You even have to sign a form saying you are not making any of this up. It is a lot to go through for what might just be $3 or less. On the other hand, if enough people are turned off by Meta’s form, a hearty, relative few may in fact get a windfall of, who knows, $50?