Judge Approves of Facebook’s $20 Million Privacy Settlement

Posted Dec 4, 2012

Facebook offered a $20 million cash settlement in a class-action lawsuit based on how they grabbed the names of users and their photographs in advertisements.  A federal judge gave Facebook a preliminary approval for the settlement.

The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Facebook users that objected to the use of their names and photos in Sponsored Stories.  The Sponsored Stories ads turned a user’s “likes” into ads that appeared in the New Feeds of users.  The lawsuit said that the ads are a violation of privacy.

If the settlement is approved, then Facebook will divide the $20 million among Facebook users that claimed damages related to Sponsored Stories.  Those users will receive $10 each.  Facebook will allow users to opt out of Sponsored Stories altogether.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg threw out Facebook’s offer this past summer.  The Judge said that the new settlement iteration “appears to be the product of serious” negotiations.

A public interest lawyer is still arguing that Facebook is not protecting users that are under 18 years old and threatened to appeal Seeborg’s decision.