The lawyers reprsenting Facebook users have asked a judge to approve a $550 million settlement in their class-action lawsuit that claimed the Facebook illegally gathered biometric data through a photo-tagging tool.
According to a Friday filing, the class members will get from $150 to $300, or between 15% and 30% of the possible recovery on an individual claim.
Facebook had proposed the $550 million settlement with Facebook users, who claimed that the “tag suggestions” feature violated an Illinois biometric privacy law. Plaintiffs sued in 2015, claiming that the social media platform’s “tag suggestions” feature, which prompts users to identify “friends” in photographs posted to the site, violated BIPA.
U.S. District Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California had noted that the Illinois Legislature set statutory damages at $1,000 for negligent violations of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act and $5,000 for intentional or reckless violations.
Donato had asked for the settlement papers that explain what benchmark amount the parties had set for damages and the reason for any discount from that statutory amount.
The users agreed to the reduced damages because they haven’t suffered any economic loss and didn’t seek a multibillion-dollar settlement, their lawyers said. Facebook could have also asked the court to reduce damages after a potential trial, according to the lawyers.
Facebook users can “tag” others in a photo posted on the social network. Facebook then creates a link to that person’s profile. Facebook’s photo tag suggestions come from collecting facial recognition data from other photos.
The company agreed to turn off the facial recognition feature for class members and delete existing user biometric information unless they consent to turn on the feature within 180 days after the settlement is finalized, the lawyers said.