If you receive a message purporting to be from Facebook with the subject "LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION" -- don't worry, it's legitimate.
Facebook is sending proposed settlement notices to members of a class-action lawsuit against the company's use of Sponsored Stories. Facebook's offer of $20 million to settle the case was granted preliminary approval by the courts in December.
An email detailing the reason behind the lawsuit as well as the terms of the settlement was sent to users it believes are class members of the lawsuit, "according to available records."
The lawsuit was initially filed on behalf of Facebook users objecting to the use of their names and pictures in Sponsored Stories, ads which turn a user's Likes into ads appearing in friends' news feeds. The lawsuit argues the ads are a violation of privacy, as they turn users into spokespeople and endorsers without their direct approval.
The terms of the settlement state that users who file a claim can receive up to $10 from Facebook.
According to the document:
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 atwww.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com.
Class members have until May 2, 2013, to submit a claim, exclude themselves from the settlement (in order to file an individual lawsuit over the legal claims), or tell the court why they object to the settlement. A Fairness Hearing over the matter will be held on June 28, 2013.
For users that do not submit a claim, they will not receive payment at all, but may be eligible for the non-monetary benefits of the settlement.