Facebook could pay users $10 apiece – but who’s going to get it?

Tori Floyd
The Right ClickJanuary 29, 2013

If you’ve received an email telling you that Facebook may be sending you $10, it’s (potentially) not a scam: as the result of a class-action lawsuit over Sponsored Stories, Facebook is paying out a small portion of the settlement to many of its users.

I say “potentially” because the chances of someone capitalizing on this turn of events to make some money off of unsuspecting folks are high, but for many users, the news is true.

Unfortunately, for many users, that $10 will never make its way to your pockets, and will instead line the pockets of the lawyers and privacy groups that helped get that money in the first place.

[ Related: Three reasons Facebook’s Graph Search might not be the Next Great Thing ]

GigaOM reports that a class action lawsuit was filed against the social network in response to “Sponsored Stories” that ran on its website. If you were to “Like” a Page, your friends may see a targeted post in their feed advertising a product or service related to that Page. Facebook still runs these ads, however when they were first running them, their privacy terms and conditions didn’t actually allow them to target users with ads in that way.

To resolve the case, Facebook is paying $20 million. According to the settlement, Facebook users could get up to $10 each, depending on how much money is available. $20 million might sound like a fair chunk of change, but with the lawyers on the case asking for $8 million and other parties involved in the settlement taking a cut, there’s only going to be about $10 to $12 million left to divvy out.

[ More Right Click: Unlocking your cell phone is now illegal in the U.S. ]

Unfortunately, if you’re a Canadian Facebook user, it isn’t looking likely that you’ll be getting a piece of that pie, as the ruling was made in U.S. court. Even if you are in the U.S., your chances for landing a $10 cheque aren’t great, either. If the number of people who claim their portion of the settlement splits the money so much the amount people would get is below $5, the money is going to go to charity, instead. And as BuzzFeed points out, with 150 million Facebook users in the U.S., that’s looking like a pretty likely outcome.

Need to know what’s hot in tech? Follow @yrightclick on Twitter!