Have You Used Facebook in the Last Two Decades? You May Qualify For a Payout



Filing out the form only takes a few minutes.

If you’ve been a Facebook user in the last 16 years, chances are the social media platform just might owe you some cash. 

A California judge issued a preliminary approval for a settlement totaling $725 million between the social platform’s parent company Meta and users who claimed that the company shared their data without consent to third-party sources, such as Cambridge Analytica. In 2018, Facebook revealed that the data mining firm unlawfully took information from at least 87 million of its users via a personality quiz — and since then, the settlement grew to encompass many similar cases. For its part, Meta has denied any wrongdoing, but it agreed to the settlement in December to avoid further costs.

This case is by no means a first: In 2021, Facebook agreed to pay $650 million as part of a class action lawsuit alleging that it used users’ biometric data without permission. In total, an estimated 1.6 million users were affected by that breach, and they were eligible for at least $345 each in compensation.

Wondering if you qualify for this latest settlement and how to stake your claim? We have the details below.

Do you qualify for the Facebook settlement?

The $725 million settlement applies to anyone who lives in the U.S. and has used Facebook from May 24, 2007, to Dec. 22, 2022. If you weren’t a frequent user, it might still be worth filing a claim because the class action suit doesn’t specify any required level of activity to apply for the settlement payout; rather, it simply states those who had accounts during that time frame are eligible.

How do you claim your payout?

The form can be filled out online in a matter of minutes. First, visit this website and click on “submit a claim.” You will be asked to provide some personal information, including your name, address, email, phone, and preferred payment service. You can also opt to download the form and send it via snail mail, but keep in mind that the deadline to file a claim is Aug. 25. 

How much money can you expect to receive? 

There’s no clear answer on this yet. Each of the eight plaintiffs who brought the case against Facebook is expected to rake in up to $15,000 each, and as much as 25 percent of settlement funds will go towards legal and administrative fees. What’s left will be divided among what could amount to tens of millions of users who submit these additional claims. (For the record, 9 percent of consumers who were eligible filed claims in 149 different class-action lawsuits, according to a 2019 study by the Federal Trade Commission.)

But once you do learn how much money you’re owed, getting it may take some time. There will be a final approval hearing for the settlement on Sept. 7, so if you qualify, you may not get your payout until the latter half of this year. 

“Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the court grants final approval of the settlement and after any appeals are resolved,” the claims site notes. 

How can you protect yourself on social media?

In the case of this Facebook settlement, the controversial release of data isn’t something an individual user could have prevented — the information was handed over willingly by Facebook, and millions of people were impacted by this move. But there are plenty of ways to be taken advantage of on social media platforms that actually are totally avoidable, and many of them are plots pulled off by other users. We’ve got a helpful guide to how to protect yourself from online scams, including the signs that someone isn’t who they say they are and how they might try to trick you.