1.4 million people in Illinois are at risk of receiving a check in the mail from Facebook in a seven-year, $650 million class action lawsuit against the company.
In the suitclass members allege that the company violated Illinois’ biometric information privacy law by collecting and storing biometric data – also known as physical characteristics – of users without their consent, through things like technology of facial recognition.
Facebook users might more commonly know this as “Tag Suggestions” notifications.
Checks in the amount of $397 and up began being mailed out on May 9, according to the settlement administratorand it will take approximately two weeks to complete sending checks and processing electronic payments.
If you haven’t received a check yet, but think you owe one, here’s what to know.
I’m a Facebook user from Illinois. Am I part of the class action?
According to settlement websiteFacebook records were used to identify certain members of the group.
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 model being created while you lived in Illinois, you were not invited to participate in the trial. .
Not everyone in Illinois who uses Facebook is included, and only class members will receive payment from the lawsuit.
Is there a way to check if I am part of the lawsuit and if I will receive payment?
According to 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.
If you can’t remember whether or not you filled out a claim form, here’s who to contact:
- 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
How much are the checks?
According to settlement websitethe last checks are for $397.
Previously, the settlement administrator said the checks would be between $200 and $400. A document entitled “Order Regarding Final Approval, Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses, and Incentivesdated February 26, 2021, states that “this is one of the largest settlements ever for a privacy breach, and it will put at least $345 in the hands of each class member wishing to be 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,” said the Settlement Website States.
“If you are expecting a payment but have not yet received it, we ask that you wait until mid-June before applying.”
What the Illinois Facebook Lawsuit Says and How Facebook Responded
According to Settlement Administrator“Facebook users in Illinois have sued Facebook claiming that its ‘Tag Suggestions’ feature, and other features involving facial recognition technology, violated Illinois biometric information privacy law.
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 can be found on the trial here.
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