The Common Good

How I'm Getting Facebook to Pay Nearly $20M to Protect the Internet from Facebook

Date: February 4, 2013

In February, I got an email with the subject line: Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION. I assumed it was spam. But nope, it's legit. Facebook users filed a lawsuit against FB charging that the "sponsored stories/ads" were a violation of privacy. Judge Seeborg agreed. The settlement is for $20 million! (That's a lot of "likes.")

Okay. Victory won. But -- and it's a big one -- users who file a claim can only receive a maximum of $10 from Facebook. And, $10 (or less, depending on the number of claimants, and after court costs and service payments) really isn't worth the hassle.

Until you read the fine print, which states, and I quote: "If the number of claims made renders it economically infeasible to pay any money to Authorized Claimants, the entire Net Settlement Fund will be distributed to the not-for-profit organizations identified below."

Those non-profits include: Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, Consumers Federation of America, Consumer Privacy Rights Fund,,, and others. Wow!