Around 500,000 people have been rejected for what they thought was their share of a $725 million class-action settlement of a lawsuit that claimed Facebook parent Meta violated their privacy—though some of those denied may still be eligible to collect the money, according to a report.
Many Facebook users—likely the majority of users in the United States—were eligible to apply for a portion of the enormous settlement.
Such users, which probably cover the vast majority of American Facebook users who still have an account on the social media platform, were given until Aug. 25, 2023, to submit a claim form.
Angeion, the company that is administering the $725 million settlement fund, told Nexstar that it had received some 28 million claims—and that it had rejected around 500,000 of them, some due to fraud.
The company has yet to finish processing around 11 million claims, meaning the number of people who get rejection letters is likely to grow.
However, all hope is not lost for those whose claims have been rejected.
An Angeion representative told Nexstar that some of the rejections may be due to error—and that getting a share of the money may still be possible.
Some rejected applications were correctly flagged as fraudulent—but not all.
An Angeion representative told Nexstar that some people’s claims were denied because the Facebook username that they provided on the application didn’t match the one that Facebook has on file.
Other reasons why an application got rejected include providing an email or phone number that didn’t match what Facebook has on file for that particular user.
People whose claims were denied were sent an email from a “Facebook Consumer Privacy Settlement Administrator,” telling them that they had been rejected, per the report.
Spotting the email and taking timely action are key as people only have 10 days from the date of receiving the email to appeal the unfavorable decision.
In order to appeal a rejection, an online form needs to be filled out, per the instructions in the email. The form allows the applicant’s information on file to be corrected or clarified.
People who were eligible to apply for a portion of the $725 million settlement must have lived in the United States between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022.
This means that residents of other countries—such as Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom—were ineligible. There were also other exclusions to the settlement class: directors, officers, legal representatives, alleged co-conspirators, and agents of the defendant or its subsidiaries, along with employees of Meta or its subsidiaries.
The case and resulting settlement originated from 2018 reports revealing that Cambridge Analytica paid a Facebook app developer for access to the personal information of approximately 87 million Facebook users.
This data was allegedly used to target U.S. voters during the 2016 campaign.
A final approval hearing for the settlement took place on Sept. 7, 2023.
This was followed by an Oct. 10, 2023 final judgment issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which also granted two orders—one granted a motion for final approval of the settlement and the second ordered attorneys’ fees, costs, and service awards.
However, despite the fact that the court granted both motions, several plaintiffs filed objections on Nov. 9, 2023.
Since settlement payments cannot be distributed to eligible recipients until the appeals are resolved, the timeline for the payout remains unclear.
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