Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the date a judge tentatively approved the settlement.
A massive $725 million settlement involving Facebook’s parent company Meta was tentatively approved by a judge last month, paving the way for users of the social media platform to apply for a chunk of the payout.
Meta has agreed to the payment to settle a lawsuit claiming Facebook allowed users’ personal data to be shared with third parties, the most famous being Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The firm harvested the data of as many as 87 million Facebook users, the Associated Press reported.
Final approval of the settlement isn’t expected until September, but Facebook users don’t need to wait to file their claim.
Who qualifies for a payment?
You don’t need to know if your data was accessed by a third-party app to get a piece of the settlement. Anyone who was a Facebook user between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, is eligible, per the settlement page.
That means a lot of people are eligible — Facebook reports 2 billion users globally, including about 200 million in the United States and Canada.
Only U.S. users are eligible for a payment.
How do I apply?
There are two ways to submit a claim: online or by mail.
To file online, you’ll need to click here, answer a few questions about yourself, and then decide how you’d like to be paid (prepaid gift card, direct deposit, PayPal, etc.).
To file by mail, you’ll need to print some forms and send them in to the settlement administrator in Philadelphia.
You need to submit the form by August 25 in order to qualify.
How much will I get?
As with many class action lawsuits, the size of each individual’s payout depends on how many claims come in. How long you were a Facebook user will also determine the size of your payment — the longer you had an active account, the larger your payment will be. (You need to disclose if you’ve deleted your Facebook account when submitting a claim.)
And before any money lands in your bank account, attorneys’ fees and administrative expenses will be deducted from the $725 million pot.
When will I get paid?
The final settlement hearing is set for Sept. 7, 2023, so any approved payments definitely wouldn’t be sent out before then. “Settlement payments will be distributed as soon as possible if the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved,” the claim site’s FAQ explains.
The date of the hearing is also subject to change.