In a landmark move, the parent company of Facebook, Meta agreed to pay a whopping US $725 million last year as a privacy settlement to address allegations of their mishandling user data. Now, U.S. Facebook users have an opportunity to secure their rightful share from this settlement with only a month left to file their claims.
The lawsuit centers around Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that accessed the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their consent, supposedly influencing the 2016 presidential campaign. Users with a Facebook account between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, could be eligible to receive compensation.
The infamous Cambridge Analytica case sent shockwaves through the tech world, prompting a wave of concern over data privacy and security. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, faced rigorous questioning from U.S. lawmakers, and many users voiced their disapproval, even contemplating deleting their accounts.
Despite the challenges, Facebook’s user base has remained formidable, boasting over 2 billion users globally, with approximately 250 million in the U.S. However, growth has slowed as competing platforms like TikTok have captured users’ attention.
Beyond the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Meta has encountered additional scrutiny over privacy issues. The European Union slapped Meta with a record-breaking US $1.3 billion fine in May that required them to cease transferring users’ personal information across the Atlantic by October. The EU also withheld the launch of Meta’s text-based app, Threads, citing concerns about data privacy.
Despite these challenges, Meta’s second-quarter earnings have outperformed expectations. Rebounding from the pandemic slump, the company earned US $2.98 per share, or US $7.79 billion in the April-June period, marking a rise of 16% from the previous year. Revenue surged 11% to US $32 billion during the same period, while monthly active users reached an impressive 3.03 billion as of June 30.
Experts are optimistic about Meta’s prospects, with Advantage. their AI-driven ad automation tools, showing promising results. The company’s stock surged by 4.8% to US $313.02 in after-hours trading following the announcement of its earnings.
To file a claim, users can either complete a simple online form or submit a printed version by mail, with the deadline set for August 25. While the total payout will be substantial, the individual amount each user will receive is still uncertain. The more valid claims submitted, the smaller each payout, as the funds will be distributed among eligible users.
As the deadline for filing claims approaches, eligible U.S. Facebook users are expected to assert their rights and seek compensation for the alleged privacy breaches. This settlement is a unique opportunity for Facebook users to partake in holding companies accountable for protecting their personal data. Securing the rightful share from the Facebook user privacy settlement encourages the critical need for user data privacy and sets a precedent for responsible data practices in this digital age.