Facebook internet tracking litigation $90M class action settlement

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Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, agreed to pay $90 million to resolve claims alleging unlawful user tracking on non-Facebook websites.

The settlement benefits people who were Facebook users between April 22, 2010, and Sept. 26, 2011, inclusive, and visited non-Facebook websites that displayed the Facebook “Like” button. 

Facebook is a social media platform used by billions of people around the world. This class action lawsuit against Facebook alleges that it tracked user activity through “Like” buttons on non-Facebook websites. This button allegedly allowed Facebook to use cookies to identify a user on an external website that used the Facebook “Like” plugin. Plaintiffs contend that even if the user didn’t interact with this plugin, Facebook was able to track his or her activity across the web.

Plaintiffs’ complaint in this lawsuit alleges that “[w]hen Facebook’s session and tracking cookies link the URLs to specific persons, anonymity disappears.” The complaint also asserts that “Facebook can link the web browsing of more than one billion people to their actual identities.”

The consolidated class action argues that users had their privacy rights violated by such conduct, and the complaint includes claims under the Federal Wiretap Act.

Facebook does not admit to wrongdoing and denies that it violated any law but has agreed to pay $90 million to settle the litigation to avoid the costs and risks associated with continuing the case.

Under the terms of this settlement, the $90 million settlement fund will be distributed to settlement class members who submit approved claims.  Each authorized claimant will be entitled to receive an equal share of the settlement fund. 

Exact payment amounts will vary depending on the number of authorized settlement class members. The larger the number of authorized settlement class members, the smaller the settlement payments will be, and vice versa. 

The settlement also requires Facebook to sequester and delete all cookie data as pled in the complaint that was received or associated with settlement class members between April 22, 2010, and Sept. 26, 2011, inclusive, that may be used to identify a specific user.  

The deadline for exclusion and objection is Sept. 12, 2022. 

In order to receive a settlement payment, settlement class members must submit a valid claim form by Sept. 22, 2022.

The final approval hearing for this settlement is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2022.

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