Facebook’s Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement – Facts Analysis


Picture about Facebook's Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement
Facebook's Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement

Story:

Notice Of Pending Class Action And Notice Of Proposed Settlement
Angel Fraley V. Facebook, Inc.
You are receiving this e-mail because you may have been featured in a “Sponsored Story” on Facebook prior to December 3, 2012.
A federal court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called “Sponsored Stories.”
According to available records, you may be a “Class Member.”
What is the Action about? The Action claims that Facebook unlawfully used the names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Facebook users in the United States to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories without obtaining those users’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.
What is a Sponsored Story? Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contains posts which appeared on facebook.com about or from a Facebook user or entity that a business, organization, or individual has paid to promote so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen by the user or entity’s chosen audience. Sponsored Stories may be displayed, for example, when a Facebook user interacts with the Facebook service (including sub-domains, international versions, widgets, plug-ins, platform applications or games, and mobile applications) in certain ways, such as by clicking on the Facebook “Like” button on a business’s, organization’s, or individual’s Facebook page. Sponsored Stories typically include a display of a Facebook user’s Facebook name (i.e., the name the user has associated with his or her Facebook account) and/or profile picture (if the user has uploaded one) with a statement describing the user’s interaction with the Facebook service, such as “John Smith likes UNICEF,” “John Smith played Farmville,” or “John Smith shared a link.”
What relief does the Settlement provide? Facebook will pay $20 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to pay claims of Class Members (including Minor Class Members) who appeared in a Sponsored Story. Each participating Class Member who submits a valid and timely claim form may be eligible to receive up to $10. The amount, if any, paid to each claimant depends upon the number of claims made and other factors detailed in the Settlement. No one knows in advance how much each claimant will receive, or whether any money will be paid directly to claimants. If the number of claims made renders it economically infeasible to pay money to persons who make a timely and valid claim, payment will be made to the not-for-profit organizations identified on the Settlement website at www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com (if clicking on the link does not work, copy and paste the website address into a web browser). These organizations are involved in educational outreach that teaches adults and children how to use social media technologies safely, or are involved in research of social media, with a focus on critical thinking around advertising and commercialization, and particularly with protecting the interests of children.
In addition to monetary relief, Facebook will (a) revise its terms of service (known as the “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” or “SRR”) to more fully explain the instances in which users agree to the display of their names and profile pictures in connection with Sponsored Stories; (b) create an easily accessible mechanism that enables users to view, on a going-forward basis, the subset of their interactions and other content on Facebook that have been displayed in Sponsored Stories (if any); (c) develop settings that will allow users to prevent particular items or categories of content or information related to them from being displayed in future Sponsored Stories; (d) revise its SRR to confirm that minors represent that their parent or legal guardian consents to the use of the minor’s name and profile picture in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content; (e) provide parents and legal guardians with additional information about how advertising works on Facebook in its Family Safety Center and provide parents and legal guardians with additional tools to control whether their children’s names and profile pictures are displayed in connection with Sponsored Stories; and (f) add a control in minor users’ profiles that enables each minor user to indicate that his or her parents are not Facebook users and, where a minor user indicates that his or her parents are not on Facebook, Facebook will make the minor ineligible to appear in Sponsored Stories until he or she reaches the age of 18, until the minor changes his or her setting to indicate that his or her parents are on Facebook, or until a confirmed parental relationship with the minor user is established.

Your Legal Rights And Options In This Settlement

Submit A Claim Form: This is the only way to be eligible to receive a payment, if the Court orders payment to Class Members. – Deadline: May 2, 2013

Exclude Yourself: This is the only option that allows you to retain the ability to file your own lawsuit about the legal claims in this case. – Deadline: May 2, 2013

Object: Write to the Court about why you object to (i.e., don’t like) the Settlement and think it shouldn’t be approved. – Deadline: May 2, 2013

Go To The “Fairness Hearing”: The Court will hold a “Fairness Hearing” to consider the Settlement, the request for attorneys’ fees and expenses of the lawyers who brought the Action (“Class Counsel”), and the class representatives’ request for service awards for bringing the Action. You may, but are not required to, speak at the Fairness Hearing about any Objection you filed. If you intend to speak at the Fairness Hearing, you must follow the procedures stated on the Settlement website to notify the Court and parties of your intent when you serve your Objection. – Hearing Date: June 28, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Do Nothing: You will not receive a payment, even if the Court orders payment to Class Members. You will also be giving up your right to bring your own lawsuit related to the claims in the Action. You may be eligible to receive the non-monetary benefits of the Settlement, if the Settlement is finally approved. – No deadline.

To Parents and Guardians of Children on Facebook: The Settlement also involves the claims of minors featured in Sponsored Stories on Facebook. Please see the Settlement website for more information.

More information? For more information about the Settlement and how to take the actions described above, please visit www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com (if clicking on the link does not work, copy and paste the website address into a web browser) or write to the Settlement Administrator at Fraley v. Facebook, Inc., Settlement, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35009, Seattle, WA 98124-1009, or GCG[@]fraleyfacebooksettlement.com. You may also contact Class Counsel, Robert S. Arns of the Arns Law Firm, by calling 1-888-214-5125 or by emailing fb.settlement[@]arnslaw.com. 

Picture of Facebook's Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement
Facebook’s Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement

Analysis:

This is an email message many Facebook users received, claiming it as a legal notice from official Facebook. The notice is for Class Action and Proposed Settlement of Sponsored Stories, with reference to a law suit between Angel Fraley V. Facebook, Inc. It is a fact, the email notice is genuine and from official Facebook.

The Origin of Lawsuit

In 2011, Facebook decided to put its users in “Sponsored Story“, i.e. advertisements on Facebook, based on the things the users have “Liked”. But those ads did not always reflect the right context in which a Facebook user has “Liked” something. It was believed to be misguiding and exploited for marketing products and brands. So, within 3 months these sponsored stories advertisements have started, an enterprising group of plaintiffs led by Angel Fraley, a seamstress, sued Facebook in California saying that the company had violated the law by using their names and liking of ads without their permission and without paying them.

What is Class Action

Class Action is a kind of lawsuit where one or more people called class representatives or “Representative Plaintiffs” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims (called “Class Members”). For purposes of this proposed Settlement, one court will resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those people who properly exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

In this legal case (Class), the group of plaintiffs who filed the case are the class representatives, and the Facebook user who received this legal notice for Class Action is a Class Member.

The Sponsored Stories Settlement

In December 2012, Facebook and the group of plaintiffs settled the Sponsored Stories suit for an amount of $20 million. This $20 million covers the class action lawyers’ fees; the rest amount is potentially going to be divided by share among the affected Facebook users who were listed in Sponsored Stories ads. This is the reason why you received this legal notice from Facebook asking you to claim your up-to-$10 share. And in case, the request for this share is too great, the settlement money will instead go to a bunch of non-profit entities that work on privacy issues. If the amount of per-person payment falls below the threshold of $4.99, the whole money will be split among the non-profits listed here.

What You have to Do

If you have received this legal notice email as a Facebook user effected by the Sponsored Stories advertisements, then as mentioned in the notice, you have options to:

  • Submit a claim form for a payment of up-to-$10 share after the final settlement. – Deadline: May 2, 2013
  • Exclude yourself from the present lawsuit and retain your right to file your own case. – Deadline: May 2, 2013
  • Object the present settlement case and write to the court why it should not be approved. – Deadline: May 2, 2013
  • Attend the ‘Fairness Hearing’ of the case going to be held by court. – Hearing Date: June 28, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Do nothing, to eliminate yourself from the monetary benefits and the legal rights of the case. You may be eligible for non-monetary benefits of the settlement, if it is approved finally. – No deadline.

You can choose the option that suits your best interest. For further details, you can read the complete information on legal notice here.

Hoax or Fact:

Fact.

References:

Legal Notice From Facebook Is Real
Fraley Facebook Sponsored Stories Settlement FAQ’s


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Facebook’s Legal Notice for Sponsored Stories Settlement – Facts Analysis

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