In a landmark class action settlement, Facebook agreed to contribute $650M to a class action fund to be distributed to qualifying Facebook users. The settlement fund was agreed upon as the result of a class action lawsuit against facebook for violating Illinois Privacy laws - this law is called BIPA.
Google and Snapchat Privacy Violations
In May 2022, Google settled a $100 Million Class Action relating to their Google Photos application facing similar allegations to Facebook with tagging and facial recognition without opt-in from users.
Facebook Pays Users for Settlement
Class action members that were involved in the 2022 Facebook BIPA class action settlement are reporting deposits, checks, and electronic gift cards in the amount of $397 as a result of filing legitimate claims during the claims period for the class action. Nearly 1.6 Million users are estimated to have been sent the payment.
Why Was Facebook originally sued?
The original class action lawsuit alleged that Facebook illegally used facial recognition software without users opting in or allowing Facebook to collect their "biometric" data in the form of face recognition. Specifically, this was the "tag suggestion" feature which recommended faces to tag with a name. Those people that could be tagged often would be tagged without their permission or knowledge, allowing snoopers and stalkers to track them more easily. This was deemed a violation of Illinois state law, which was passed in 2008.
Can I still File a Claim?
While it is too late to file a claim for the Facebook Privacy Class Action Settlement, this is a canary in the coalmine for other data driven or social media companies. For example, Google settled a $100 Million Class Action Lawsuit in relation to their Google Photos Application facing similar allegations to Facebook with tagging and facial recognition without opt-in from users in the context of the Illinois privacy law, BIPA. This is similar to a pending Snapchat class action investigation as of May 2022. Stay on the lookout on this website and other news sites to see if other companies become involved in class action settlements for personal privacy violations.