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Millions of Facebook Users Pass on $650 Million Privacy Jackpot

(Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. will be making payouts to only about a quarter of the 6 million Illinois residents eligible for the biggest consumer privacy settlement in U.S. history.



a person using a laptop computer: The logo for Facebook is displayed on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Little Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Facebook Inc. is tightening its rules on content concerning the U.S. presidential election next month, including instituting a temporary ban on political ads when voting ends, as it braces for a contentious night that may not end with a definitive winner.


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The logo for Facebook is displayed on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Little Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Facebook Inc. is tightening its rules on content concerning the U.S. presidential election next month, including instituting a temporary ban on political ads when voting ends, as it braces for a contentious night that may not end with a definitive winner.

Based on a tally filed in court after Monday’s claims deadline, some 1.57 million people will probably pocket more than $300 each — after about a third of the $650 million settlement fund is set aside for their attorneys and administrative costs — from a lawsuit in which the social network was accused of collecting biometric images from its photo-tagging feature without consent.

As class actions go, with nickel-and-dime payouts often not worth the effort of filing a claim, a case that ends up with a 25% buy-in from consumers is a success story. Frequently, fewer than 10% of eligible people file claims.

Read More: Facebook Sweetens Biometric Privacy Accord to $650 Million

Gallery: States Where Identity Theft Runs Rampant (GOBankingRates)

In Facebook’s case, the judge was initially skeptical if a settlement of less than $1 billion was fair, considering that if users had taken the company to trial they could have sought damages of as much as $5,000 for each violation of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Information Act.

To get U.S. District Judge James Donato on board, the company and the lawyers for consumers added an extra $100 million to what was originally a $550 million accord, and they promised an extra-aggressive outreach effort, which included pinging Facebook users directly through their accounts to alert them to the cash jackpot. Final approval of the deal is scheduled for early in 2021.

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