On April 26, 2017, the Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted preliminary settlement approval to a class action, filed December 31, 2013, alleging that Facebook intercepted the content of Facebook messages, without consent, in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510, et seq. and Cal. Penal Code §§ 630, et seq. The settlement class includes all natural-person Facebook users located within the United States and its territories who have sent, or received from a Facebook user, private messages that included URLs in their content (and from which Facebook generated a URL attachment), from December 30, 2011 to March 1, 2017. As part of the injunctive-relief only settlement, Facebook has confirmed that the challenged conduct has ceased—namely, Facebook confirms that it no longer utilizes data from URLs within private messages to (1) generate recommendations to its users; (2) share user data with third parties or (3) increase “like” counter numbers on third party websites. In addition, during the course of this litigation, Facebook made changes to its operative disclosures to its users, stating that it collects the “content and other information” that people provide when they “message or communicate with others,”—thereby further explaining the ways in which Facebook may use that content. Facebook has also agreed to display additional educational language on its United States website for Help Center materials concerning its processing of URLs shared within messages.
On August 9, 2017, at 9 a.m., at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Courthouse, Courtroom 3 – 3rd Floor, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California 94612, before the Honorable Phyllis L. Hamilton, the Court will hold a hearing to determine whether final approval of this class action settlement is appropriate. If approved, class members will release their ability to seek or obtain any other injunctive relief related to the claims asserted in this lawsuit. Class members will not release any claims for monetary relief.
Class Counsel’s motion in support of final approval of the settlement, application for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses not to exceed $3.9 million, including a service award of $5,000 for each of the two Class Representatives will be filed no later than May 26, 2017. Class members may submit comments or objections to the settlement or the requested fees and expenses. Any opposition, comment, or objection must be filed or mailed to the Court as described at paragraphs 9-11 of the Court’s Order granting Preliminary Approval the link below, no later than June 26, 2017.
You may view the settlement agreement and other related documents (including Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, the Court’s Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, Plaintiffs’ Motions for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement, Attorneys’ Fees and Incentive Awards, and any opposition or reply papers related to these motions) here:
Further documents to be posted as they are filed.
Plaintiffs and the Class are represented by Carney Bates & Pulliam, PLLC and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.