Have you received a somewhat suspicious e-mail claiming to be from "legalnotice" at facebookmail.com? Turns out, it is indeed a legitimate legal notice from the folks at Facebook.com, detailing a pending class action lawsuit and notice of a proposed settlement. The lawsuit known as 'Angel Fraley V. Facebook' is related to Facebook's practice of posting a users' pictures as part of ads known as "Sponsored Stories" without their permission, and generally without their knowledge.
If you were suspicious of the e-mail, you're not alone. With so many e-mail phishing scams hitting our in-boxes every week, it can be tough to tell what's real and what's not.
But this one is legit and might be worth your attention. We say "might" because the $20 million that Facebook has been ordered to pay out would yield each claimant participating in the class action just $10, at best.
Is it worth the five minutes to fill out the form and become part of the suit? Perhaps. Although many people won't bother, many others may do it for the joy of possibly getting a $10 check from Facebook and that feeling of 'sending a message' to Facebook that privacy is important and our images are and should be our own.
The reason the $10 pay-out to each claimant isn't guaranteed is explained in the e-mail from Facebook:
"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."
We have included the full text of the e-mail that Facebook sent to potential claimants below to help those who received the e-mail determine if it's legitimate and also for those who might have deleted the e-mail, thinking it was part of a phishing scam.
If you received an e-mail like this from Facebook, do you plan to file a claim? Exclude yourself so you can possibly file a lawsuit of your own? Or, will you object or go to the hearing? Or, like many others, just opt to do nothing? And why?
We invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.
NOTICE OF PENDING CLASS ACTION AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
ANGEL FRALEY V. FACEBOOK, INC.(continued...)
Posted: 2013-01-28 @ 11:02am PT
@Bob in Westfield: This is the text from the real email from Facebook and we have independently confirmed with Facebook that it is legitimate.
Posted: 2013-01-28 @ 6:47am PT
i am filing
Posted: 2013-01-28 @ 5:14am PT
Is this some kind of Scam or the Real Email from Facebook?
Posted: 2013-01-27 @ 11:30am PT
I'm tempted to EXCLUDE myself from the class action and file my own action. My face was one of the ones used without permission and it just wasn't right.
Posted: 2013-01-27 @ 11:27am PT
I agree with 2-Cent Sally: Facebook needs to be held accountable for this and other lax privacy policies that take advantage of our information and use it in ways we don't like. Will I submit a claim form? YES, absolutely and I think EVERYONE should. It's not about getting our $10... it's about sending a message to Facebook!!!!
Posted: 2013-01-27 @ 11:24am PT
I'm in the 'do nothing' category. I just don't think it's worth my time. BUT... I'm happy to see Facebook being slapped with a major penalty for using people's head shots without their permission. It's not only unfair to the people's whose pictures were used for advertising, it's unfair to their friends who saw the ads thinking their friends were intentionally endorsing products, when all they did was hit a Like button. Yes, if you Like something you Like it... that doesn't necessarily mean you want your face plastered all over your friends' pages as an AD for that company or service. I think was a very deceptive practice and Facebook needs to be held accountable.