If you’re a Facebook user in Illinois, you may have recently received a check in the mail from the company as part of a seven-year, $650 million class action lawsuit.
According to the class action settlement administrator, checks between $200 and $400 to more than 1.4 million people began being mailed on May 9.
In the lawsuit, members of the group allege that the company violated Illinois’ biometric information privacy law by collecting and storing users’ biometrics – physical characteristics – without their consent, through things like than facial recognition technology.
Facebook users might more commonly know this as “Tag Suggestions” notifications.
Here’s what else to know about the class action and how to find out if you’re a member.
What the Illinois Facebook Lawsuit Says and How Facebook Responded
According to the Settlement Administrator, “Facebook users in Illinois have sued Facebook alleging that its ‘Tag Suggestions’ feature and other features involving facial recognition technology violate Facebook’s biometric information privacy law. Illinois.
This law, passed in 2008, states that companies are not allowed to collect, store or disclose “biometric data”, which includes things such as facial scans or fingerprints, without first giving notice and obtain personal consent. The law also requires companies to specify how information would be stored and when it would be destroyed.
This case alleges that Facebook specifically violated Illinois biometric information privacy law by using facial recognition technology to create facial patterns that can be used to identify users in photos without proper notice or consent.
Facebook denies all allegations of wrongdoing and liability.
Facebook changed its technology in 2019, replacing the tool with a broader facial recognition setting, which was disabled by default. The website announced that it would shut down its recognition software entirely in 2021.
More information about the trial can be found here.
I’m a Facebook user from Illinois. Am I a class action member?
According to the settlement’s website, Facebook records were used to identify some members of the class. These people should have received a notice by email or on Facebook.
You may have received a notice if you are a current or former Facebook user in Illinois and you uploaded a photo of yourself or were “tagged” in a photo on Facebook after June 7 2011.
If photos of you that were uploaded to Facebook after June 7, 2011 did not result in a face template being created while you lived in Illinois, you are not part of the Class.
Not all Illinois residents who use Facebook are included.
How to know if you will get a payment
According to the settlement website, “Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011” are eligible for payment.
To file a valid claim under the Settlement, you must have lived in the State of Illinois for a period of at least 183 days (6 months).
The deadline to file a claim form was November 23, 2020.
If you have not filed a claim by this date – even if you are a Facebook user from Illinois and meet the above criteria – you are not a class member and you will not receive of payment.
How much are the checks?
If you’re a class member who filed a claim before the deadline, you should receive about $200 to $400 per person from the $650 million Settlement Fund, the settlement website says.
Specifically, the document titled “Order Regarding Final Approval, Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses, and Incentives” dated February 26, 2021 states that “this is one of the most ever concluded for a breach of privacy, and it will put at least $345 in the hands of each class member interested in being compensated.”
When will I receive my check?
Payments began to be sent to members on May 9, 2022.
“It will take approximately two weeks to complete sending checks and processing electronic payments,” the settlement website says.
“If you are expecting a payment but have not yet received it, we ask that you wait until mid-June before applying.”
I don’t remember if I filed a claim or received a notification. How do I know if I’m included?
Here’s who to call to confirm or get help:
- Settlement Administrator: 1-844-799-2417
- Edelson PC, appointment of a lawyer for the case: 1-866-354-3015
- Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, appointed lawyer : 1-800-449-4900
- Labaton Sucharow LLP, appointed counsel for the case: 1-888-219-6877