PSA Regarding Facebook: They May Owe You Part of a $725 Million Settlement

$725 Million is how much Facebook is having to pay to settle multiple data breach lawsuits to make them go away. $725 Million. Let that sink in for a moment. And if you live in the US and used Facebook at any point in the last 16 years, you may be entitled to a portion of it.

PSA Regarding Facebook: They May Owe You Part of a $725 Million Settlement

For many of us, Facebook is a convenient and personable way to keep up with friends and family near and far, but of course, nothing is ever that simple, is it?

Because of “multiple lawsuits that were brought against Facebook by users who claimed that the company improperly shared their data with third-party sources such as advertisers and data brokers. The litigation began after Facebook was embroiled in a privacy scandal in 2018 with Cambridge Analytica, which scraped user data from the site as part of an effort to profile voters.”

“The claim website notes that [lawyers] could be awarded up to 25% of the settlement — or $181.3 million. If they receive that much, the settlement will be reduced to $543.7 million for the Facebook users who ask for part of the claim.” – CBS

If you are one of the millions of users who logged into “This Is Your Digital Life” with Facebook, you may be eligible to make a claim as part of this lawsuit.

This was a personality profiling app that asked simple personality questions similar to other Facebook quizzes. Kogan was a scientist and Psychologist, also being an employed lecturer for the University of Cambridge from 2012 to 2018. Alexander Nix claimed they had close to 5 thousand data points on each person who participated. They also gathered information through other data brokers ending with them acquiring millions of data points from American citizens. – New York Times

In case it’s not obvious, Facebook quizzes aren’t just a fun way to figure out which Disney Princess you are or where your personality type should call home. They can also be a very effective data-gathering tool about you, your family, your friends; you name it.

The Times reported that in 2014 contractors and employees of Cambridge Analytica, eager to sell psychological profiles of American voters to political campaigns, acquired the private Facebook data of tens of millions of users — the largest known leak in Facebook history.

There was more. Our article first showed how Cambridge received warnings from its own lawyer, Laurence Levy, as it employed European and Canadian citizens on campaigns, potentially violating American election law. The Times also found that tranches of raw data still existed beyond Facebook’s control. New York Times

Just remember this: “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

Think about it.

Which banned apps may have had access to my info?

We understand we have a responsibility to protect your information. We’re taking action by investigating apps that had access to large amounts of user info before we changed our platform policies in 2014.
If we determine that an app misused information, we’ll ban it from Facebook and update the chart below.
Note: When we ban an app for misusing information, the app is no longer permitted on our platform.
Was My Information Shared?
Our investigation indicates you logged into “This Is Your Digital Life” with Facebook before we removed it from our platform in 2015. [2015?! They waited until 2015 to ban that app?!]
As a result, you likely shared the following information with “This Is Your Digital Life”:
Your name and profile picture, Page likes, friends list, birthday and current city
Your friends’ public profiles, Page likes, birthdays and current cities
A small number of people also shared their News Feed, timeline, posts, messages and friends’ hometowns with “This Is Your Digital Life.”
Check your settings to review and update the info you share with apps. Keep in mind that Facebook’s platform policy changed in 2014, restricting the info that people could grant apps access to on Facebook.Facebook <— You can click that link to immediately see if you were affected

If you haven’t already yet received a Facebook pop-up about this, you can learn more and see if you qualify here.

Sure, if you participate in this settlement, you might only get the equivalent of a cup of coffee from this when the dust settles, but hey — it was just our private data that was shared with advertisers, data brokers, and … oh yeah, Cambridge Analytica, so they could profile YOU as a voter. But who cares, right? /s

This would also be a good time to remove any apps you aren’t using, don’t remember adding, or that you aren’t sure you can trust that are tied to your Facebook account. You can do that by clicking here.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

1 Comment on "PSA Regarding Facebook: They May Owe You Part of a $725 Million Settlement"

  1. I’m waiting to see what I get. If every Facebook user in the U.S. makes a claim, each person probably won’t get much.

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