Facebook has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the social media giant over allegations of violating users’ privacy rights. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015, accused Facebook of using facial recognition technology without users’ consent, violating an Illinois biometric privacy law.
The settlement, which is one of the largest ever in a privacy case, was approved by a federal judge on Thursday. It will be divided among the approximately 1.6 million Illinois Facebook users who were part of the lawsuit. Eligible users can receive a minimum payout of $345, with some users receiving more depending on their individual circumstances.
To claim their share of the settlement, eligible Facebook users in Illinois must submit a claim form by November 23, 2021. The claims process is expected to be straightforward, and users can file their claims online or through mail.
The settlement also requires Facebook to obtain users’ consent before using facial recognition technology in Illinois. The company must also provide users with information on how the technology works and how their biometric data will be used.
Facebook has faced several privacy controversies in recent years, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved the data of millions of users being harvested without their consent. The company has since made efforts to improve its privacy practices, but the Illinois lawsuit shows that it still has work to do.
Privacy advocates have praised the settlement, saying it sends a message to other companies that they must respect users’ privacy rights. The settlement also highlights the importance of strong privacy laws, such as the Illinois biometric privacy law, which gives users the right to control their biometric data.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company was pleased to have reached a settlement and was committed to protecting users’ privacy.
“We’re pleased to have reached a settlement so we can move past this matter, which is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders,” the spokesperson said. “We’ll continue to work to protect people’s privacy and provide meaningful privacy controls.” Overall, the Facebook privacy settlement shows the importance of holding companies accountable for violating users’ privacy rights. It also highlights the need for users to be aware of their privacy rights and to take action when those rights are violated. For Illinois Facebook users who were part of the lawsuit, the settlement provides an opportunity to receive compensation for Facebook’s alleged privacy violations.