Anyone in the U.S. who has had a Facebook account at any time since May 24, 2007, can now apply for their share of a $725 million privacy settlement that parent company Meta has agreed to pay. Meta is paying to settle a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social media platform allowed millions of its users’ personal information to be fed to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. It’s not clear how much money individual users will receive. The larger the number of people submitting valid claims, the smaller each payment will be since the money has to be divided among them. To apply for the settlement, users can fill out a form and submit it online, or print it out and mail it.
The case sprang from 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm with ties to Trump political strategist Steve Bannon, had paid a Facebook app developer for access to the personal information of about 87 million users of the platform. That data was then used to target U.S. voters during the 2016 campaign that culminated in Trump’s election as the 45th president. Uproar over the revelations led to a contrite Zuckerberg being grilled by U.S. lawmakers and spurred calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts. Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and entertain themselves on rival services such as TikTok, but the social network still boasts more than 2 billion users worldwide, including an estimated 250 million in the U.S.