A class action lawsuit filed against Facebook last year alleged that the social media site violated users’ privacy rights by publicizing companies they “Liked” without compensating them or allowing them to opt out. A settlement to the case finally appears to be drawing near, as U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said on Thursday that he expected to make a ruling “very shortly.”
Facebook proposed a settlement earlier this year that would have given users’ more control over their privacy settings, while also covering $10 million in legal fees and donating $10 million to charities. However, Judge Seeborg rejected the settlement, questioning why Facebook’s proposed settlement would give no money to users. Facebook’s revised settlement proposal would pay up to $10 to each affected user from a $20 million settlement fund; any remaining funds would go to charities. Additionally, Facebook plans to create a tool that would show users content that might have popped up in “Sponsored Stories” while giving them a chance to opt out.
The original filers of the lawsuit are receptive to the settlement, but two children’s advocacy groups still oppose it. They believe that Facebook should be handling its advertising on an “opt in” basis; in other words, the default of Facebook should already be “opted out.” It seems likely like Seeborg will accept Facebook’s settlement, but if he does outside groups will still have the chance to oppose it before a final hearing.
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