If you lived in the United States in the last 15 years and you used Facebook, you can fill out a brief form and claim your part of a $725 million privacy settlement. This marks the end of a class-action lawsuit wherein the company admitted that U.K. data mining company Cambridge Analytica accessed Facebook users’ data without their consent.
You have until Friday, August 25, to file a claim. It only takes a few minutes. How much you get depends on how many people take the payment — it could be as low as $1.50 if every person in the United States fills it out.
Making a claim also stops you from pursuing a separate claim against Meta, Facebook’s parent company. However, if you take no action, you won’t get anything as a result of the Facebook data scandal.
How to claim your Facebook privacy settlement
To get your share, just go to this website, facebookuserprivacysettlement.com, to file your claim.
First, give your basic contact information:
- Email (doesn’t have to be the same one you used for your Facebook account)
- Phone number (optional)
Next, you need to confirm that at any time between 2007 and 2022:
- You lived in the United States
- You used Facebook
Then you need to confirm any one of these details of your Facebook account:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Username (To find it on your iPhone, go to Facebook > Account > Settings and Privacy > General Account Settings > Username)
You can choose to receive your payment through:
- Prepaid Mastercard
- Direct deposit via ACH
You’ll receive your payment no sooner than September 7, the settlement’s final hearing day.
Finally, you need to type an e-signature under oath and penalty of perjury (something that I did not know was considered legally binding until today), confirming that you are you and you’re telling the truth.
This comes with one tiny caveat
Although it agreed to the settlement, Meta did not admit any wrongdoing in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “We pursued a settlement as it’s in the best interest of our community and shareholders,” a Meta representative said.
If you register for a payment, according to the settlement administrator’s website, “you will give up the right to sue [Facebook] in a separate lawsuit” regarding any violations of your privacy in line with these particular allegations.
If you want to press charges separately, don’t just ignore the settlement, though. You must opt out of the settlement by July 26. To do so, you must send an opt-out request by mail. (Instructions for that are published here.)
You also can voice an objection to the settlement. You can still take the payment even if you do this. Your objections “must be submitted in writing to the Court either by mailing them to the Class Action Clerk, United States District Court for the Northern District of California” before July 26. You can even ask to speak during the final approval hearing. More information is published here.
If you don’t do anything at all, you are automatically part of the Facebook privacy settlement, but you’ll be unable to claim any payment and you will lose the right to sue. Even though it’ll pay out an unremarkable amount of money, you might as well just take it.