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Facebook Settles User Privacy Class Action for $20M


This is a settlement for the Facebook Faces Privacy Violations Class Action lawsuit.

Washington, DC: A court settlement has been reached between Facebook and 614,000 users who make up the class in an Internet privacy class action against the social network. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook shared its members' personal information without its members' permission.

The total settlement is $20 million, however when divided among each class member the payout equals $15 per class member, according to court documents.

Filed by five plaintiffs in 2011, the class action alleges Facebook used their personal details in its "sponsored stories"advertisements without their permission. Around 150 million users, who "liked"a certain product or brand, would later have their pictures and "likes"appear in the ad section of their online friends' pages, Reuters.com reports.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook earned an estimated $234 million between January 2011 and August 2012, from the "sponsored stories"scheme, according to court filings cited by Reuters.

People who responded to an email from Facebook earlier this year are the users who will receive the $15 payouts. About 7,000 Facebook users rejected the settlement altogether, which means they can still bring their own legal action against the social network.

"Although the monetary relief to each class member is relatively small and the percentage of class members who submitted claims is limited, the settlement as a whole provides fair, reasonable and adequate relief to the class,"US District Judge Richard Seeborg said in a statement regarding the ruling.

In addition to the financial part of the settlement, Facebook must change its "tatement of Rights and Responsibilities,"granting users more control over their content sharing.

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Published on Aug-28-13


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