Facebook is sending out checks to some users in order to settle a class-action lawsuit. The checks may only be for $15, but they’re real, and a timely reminder that there are consequences when the social network messes up. Which it seems to do quite often.
The source of these $15 checks is a class-action lawsuit called Fraley vs. Facebook Inc. This was filed in 2011 after Facebook was caught using people’s names and profile pictures in Sponsored Stories adverts without seeking their express permission.
These Sponsored Stories appeared in people’s News Feeds and looked like regular status updates. The use of people’s names and photos gave the illusion that individual users were somehow condoning the content, which didn’t go down too well.
A class-action was filed, and five years later, checks are finally being mailed out to everyone involved. Around 600,000 Facebook users are due to receive the checks, which is a tiny percentage of the 1.8 billion users Facebook currently boasts.
The Whys and Wherefores
To be one of the lucky recipients, you will have had to sign up to be a part of the class-action by May 2013. Unfortunately it’s too late now to start complaining, as that particular ship has sailed. Then again, Facebook consequently shelved Sponsored Stories completely in 2013, so the problem has since disappeared entirely.
The checks are for $15 for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, while those leading the lawsuit were judged to have provided sufficient evidence of legal injury, the judge accepted Facebook’s defense that it had done nothing illegal. Morally questionable, but not illegal.
Thus a total compensation bill of $20 million was agreed upon, of which just $9 million was set aside for the users actually affected by it. In other words, lawyers are expensive. And $9 million divided between 600,000 users equates to checks for $15 dropping onto doormats around the U.S.
Apparently I was part of a class action lawsuit against Facebook? I'll consider this $15 check a semi-apology for them pushing fake news… pic.twitter.com/0sTEfo18q8
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) November 22, 2016
Have you received a $15 check from Facebook? If so, do you feel it was worth getting involved in the class-action lawsuit? Is $15 enough compensation for what Facebook did in this instance? Did you even hear about this lawsuit prior to 2013? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Jim Makos via Flickr