If you are one of the 165 million American Facebook users, you may have received an email about becoming a part of the class action lawsuit against Facebook entitled “Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” Although this email is legit, don’t go quitting your job or thinking it’s your day to cash out.
In the case of Farley vs. Facebook, the court was asked to focus on the practice of including Facebook users in “Sponsored Story” ads based on things they “Liked” in the past. Forbes points out the popular example of Nick Bergus, who ended up promoting a 55-gallon drum of personal (ahem!) lubricant last Valentine’s Day after he wrote a funny online story. In the past, the only way to avoid this mismanaged advertising was only to not “Like” anything.
Facebook and the plaintiffs settled the suit in December for about $20 million. Most of the money will cover lawyers’ fees. But after they get paid, that’s where you come in. The rest will be divvied up among Facebook users who appeared in Sponsored Story ads. Meaning you could be awarded up to a whopping 10 bucks for the violation of your privacy! However, if the demand is too great, the money will go to a group of non-profits that work on privacy issues. According to Social Bakers, if all 165 million American users cashed in you’d get about 12 cents.
Well this might not be your day to take Facebook to the cleaners, but you might get more privacy options out of the deal, which based on the increasing number of lawsuits, is much needed in social media.