The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Facebook Users to Get Money

Facebook is involved in a class action lawsuit and you, the user, might get compensation for it.

The allegations included the illegal use of user’s names, profile pictures, photos, likenesses and identities for advertisement through sponsored stories, without the permission of the owner. Last month, Facebook settled the case and offered $20 million.

Users who have been affected by this case have received notices stating that because their information or photos may have been used, they are eligible to join the suit. Affected users have until May 2, to submit a claim form, in order to get their compensation of $10.

St. John’s senior James Leung reacted to the way the case was handled.

“I think that it’s sad to think that Facebook could hand users handfuls of cash to make up for them illegally using users in sponsored posts,” he said. “It has parallels to Wall Street where despite known allegations of illegal activity, they get fines instead of jail time.”

As for the action itself, Leung wasn’t shocked when he read of the illegal activity they were being charged for.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that Facebook would do such a thing, they’ve been known to violate privacy concerns of users,” he said.

Freshman Soo Kim received the email that those whose pictures were used, would’ve gotten.

“I was really confused on what was going on but now, since I have a better understanding that, I definitely feel violated, being used in a [sponsored story],” he said. “Even if they pay me, I would not want [Facebook] to use them on their ads.”

However, he is relieved that there is something being done about this matter.

There are other things that come with the settlement. Facebook will revise its terms of service in relation to sponsored stories and they are giving users more information and control on how their names and pictures will be used in the stories.

The court granted preliminary approval for the settlement but nothing has been finalized. The settlement brings benefits to class members that will only be put into action upon the final approval of the settlement by the Court.

Class members have four options they can choose to pursue. You can submit a claim form by May 2, to receive your payment or you can exclude yourself from it by May 2. However, if you object to the settlement you can write to the Court stating that and the reason why it shouldn’t be approved. You can also go to the “Fairness Hearing” on June 28 at 10 a.m. or you can simply do nothing, in which nothing will be given to you, regardless of its affects on yourself.

To find out more information about the lawsuit, visit the case’s website:

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Sarah Yu, Chief Copy Editor
As Sarah Yu says she and journalism clicked right away. Her passion for writing is what made her declare journalism as her major and begin her work on The Torch. One day, as she was sitting in the office with little to do, she began to copy edit in order to pass the time. As she continued to copy edit, she grew to love the rules of grammar and syntax. Now she is giddily taking over my position as Chief Copy Editor. Her bubbly personality was a welcome addition to the copy desk this year and will be for the new Editorial Board next year as well. — Sarah Lane Chief Copy Editor, Emeritus

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