Facebook rebranding to meta

In a landmark event, Facebook could potentially be dishing out payments to 17 million individuals in light of a record-breaking privacy settlement. According to the lawyers involved, this claim, worth a staggering $ 725 million, could be the largest class-action lawsuit in the history of the United States.

What happened that led to those potential millionaire payouts? This article explores the case and explains everything you need to know.

A Historic Class-Action Suit

The suit against Facebook has already received a massive response, with 28 million applications sent in. Of these, 17 million have been verified and are set to receive a portion of the settlement, once it secures final approval. However, the settlement pool is not immune to deductions.

Legal fees will reportedly claim a hefty $ 180 million, thus bringing down the total amount to $ 545 million. In addition to this, administrative costs are expected to further reduce the total payout, although the exact sum remains unclear. Furthermore, the eight individuals who represented all Facebook users in the case are set to receive a collective sum of $ 120,000.

That means that the remaining sum will be distributed – not evenly! – among 17 million or more eligible recipients: users who have had a Facebook account for a longer period stand to receive a higher sum. Lawyers estimate the median payment size to be around $ 30.

Despite agreeing to the payout, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is firm in its denial of any wrongdoing.

Meta's Denial

The settlement comes in light of allegations that Facebook allowed private user data to be shared with third parties, including the infamous consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, which supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. And although the judge's final approval will bring the settlement closer to distribution, potential appeals could postpone the payouts.

As people await the final approval and distribution of payments, this case serves as a sobering reminder of the potential consequences of data misuse. It also highlights the importance, for users, of being aware of their data rights and the implications of sharing private information online and underlines the necessity, for businesses around the world, of maintaining user trust and practicing ethical data handling.