Where’s Your $345 Payout From Facebook? It’s Been Delayed
In the interests of full disclosure, I'll happily confess to not being a Facebook user. Sure, we use it at the radio station to share things like this with you, but as far as personal use goes, I'm really just not interested.
However, my kids are active on Facebook, so when the news broke last year about a class-action lawsuit against Facebook by Illinois users, I made sure to make them aware of a potential windfall that could be coming their way, assuming they qualified (they are).
In case you've forgotten, Facebook users in Illinois sued Facebook claiming that its “Tag Suggestions” feature and other features involving facial recognition technology, violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA"). That law says companies can't collect, store, or give out "biometric data," which includes things like face or fingerprint scans, without first giving notice and getting consent.
The $650 million dollar settlement that was agreed upon allowed for payments of $200-$400 to claimants in the lawsuit, depending on the number of valid claims that were filed. When the settlement was announced, the criteria for receiving a payment was:
- Illinois Facebook user, located in Illinois
- Must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 183 days (six months)
- User for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011.
- Claims must be filed by November 23, 2020
Eventually, the court decided that $345 would be going to each of the 1.6 million Illinoisans who took part in the lawsuit. Naturally, my kids and a million or so of their closest friends want to know where that money is now.
The short answer is that it's been delayed. The reason for that delay is that 3 Illinois Facebook users who are part of the settlement have appealed the court's decision. They have a problem with the amount attorneys are receiving in fees when compared to what claimants are going to receive as a settlement.
“It’s going to be months,” said Paul Geller, a Florida-based attorney representing class members in the approved settlement. While Geller said objectors play “an important role” in class actions by giving class members an opportunity to air concerns, he remains confident the lower court’s decision will be upheld, and the $345 checks will ultimately go out.