A class-action lawsuit against the social network was filed on behalf of nearly 1.6 million Illinois users
District Judge James Donato approved a settlement agreement that settles a class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois in 2015 on behalf of nearly 1.6 million users against the Facebook social network that accused the company of violating privacy. As part of the settlement, the company will pay the plaintiffs $650 million.
Donato called the agreement one of the largest among lawsuits filed against companies over privacy violations.
“Each of the plaintiffs interested in receiving compensation will receive a minimum of $345,” the judge wrote in his ruling, calling the agreement “a major victory for consumers in the digital privacy.”
Attorney Jay Edelson, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 1.6 million Facebook users, told the Chicago Tribune that compensation checks could be mailed to plaintiffs within the next two months – with the caveat that this will happen if the decision is not appealed.
“We are pleased that the matter is settled … which is in the best interests of our community and our shareholders,” Facebook, headquartered in the San Francisco area, said in a statement.
The plaintiffs accused the world’s largest social network of violating Illinois’ biometric privacy law. The company used facial recognition technology on photos uploaded by users to the site without obtaining their consent.
The state’s biometric privacy law allows consumers to sue companies that collect biometric data, such as facial recognition and fingerprints, without permission from the owners of that data.
A class action lawsuit against Facebook was eventually filed in California. The company has since made changes to its system for tagging users’ photos.