Facebook might be sending you a $15 check—here’s why

Paying the penalty.
Paying the penalty.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
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Facebook is mailing out apologies.

Some background: In April 2011, a class-action lawsuit against the social network alleged that it used users’ names and faces in “Sponsored Story” ads without their consent. Five plaintiffs accused Facebook of improperly creating promotional material based on their “liking” companies’ pages or content, but the class-action extended to anyone whose likeness had appeared in an ad without their permission.

After two years of trials and appeals, a California court granted Facebook a $20 million settlement in August. That means anyone who appeared in unsanctioned promotional materials is eligible for a $15 payout—that is, if they submitted a claim by May 2, 2013.

The payments were slated for distribution by November 17, and recipients have already started sharing photos of their bounty.

Facebook has long since shelved the misleading ad feature; it turned it off in June 2013, a month before the court’s decision. But the lawsuit also led to other policy changes for the social network: Facebook now gives users more control over how their names and images are used in ads, and parents can bar the use of their children’s profiles entirely.