You might be receiving a check from Facebook in the mail. Here's why

·2 min read

Payments are being sent to about 1.4 million Illinois residents who filed claims in a $650 million class-action biometric privacy settlement against Facebook.

According to the settlement administrator, payments to Class Members vary between $200 and $400 and were mailed beginning Monday.

Here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit, whether you’re eligible for a settlement check, and when the payment may arrive in your mailbox.

What did the class action lawsuit claim?

Facebook users in Illinois sued the social media giant alleging that its “tag suggestions” and other features involving facial recognition technology violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which states companies can’t collect, store or give out “biometric data” without first giving notice and getting consent.

The lawsuit specifically alleges Facebook used facial recognition technology to create face templates without proper notice and consent.

Facebook denies all allegations of wrongdoing and liability, but announced in 2021 that it would shut down its recognition software entirely.

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Why was the case settled?

Facebook and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were in court for several years before reaching a settlement shortly before the case was to go to trial.

The settlement guarantees class members will receive a payment whereas in a trial, the plaintiffs could get nothing or could receive payments years from now.

Who is eligible to receive a Facebook settlement check?

According to the settlement website, “Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011” are eligible to receive a payment.

To receive money, an individual must have lived in Illinois for at least six months and must have filed a claim no later than Nov. 23, 2020.

What does the settlement provide?

Facebook will pay $650 million into a “Settlement Fund," to cover all aspects of the settlement.

Facebook will also turn off its Face Recognition feature for most class members. If those individuals don’t turn Face Recognition back on, Facebook will delete all existing templates for those users.

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How much money could you receive and when?

Payments will range between $200 and $400, depending on how many Class Members filed valid claims and the amount of fees, costs and expenses deducted from the Settlement Fund.

Payments started going out in the mail on May 9.

According to the settlement website, it will take about two weeks to mail all of the checks and process electronic payments.

Ken DeCoster: kdecoster@rrstar.com; @DeCosterKen

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: What to know about Illinois Facebook settlement checks