Fraley v. Facebook email land in your inbox and wonder if it’s a scam? The crazy this is that Fraley v. Facebook is actually a legitimate filed in California against Facebook alleging misappropriation of Facebook users’ names and likenesses in advertisements called “Sponsored Stories”. The case resulted in the parties reaching a settlement.
Fraley v. Facebook is a real class action suit
I received one of these emails informing me that I might have been in a Sponsors Story and that I might get some money from Facebook. My first reaction was “don’t click anything in this email it’s a scam”. Turns out it’s an actual class action suit in California - Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., et al., Case No. CV-11-01726 RS. It even pops up in Google Scholar!
The gist of Fraley v. Facebook is that Facebook was using Facebook users’ names and likenesses in advertisements called “Sponsored Stories”. The Fraley v. Facebook, Inc. a website www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com describes sponsored stories as:
Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contain posts which appear on facebook.com about or from a Facebook user or entity that a business, organization, or individual has paid to promote so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen by the user or entity’s chosen audience.
The email goes into a bit more detail stating that Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contains posts which appeared on facebook.com about or from a Facebook user or entity that a business, organization, or individual has paid to promote so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen by the user or entity’s chosen audience. Sponsored Stories may be displayed, for example, when a Facebook user interacts with the Facebook service (including sub-domains, international versions, widgets, plug-ins, platform applications or games, and mobile applications) in certain ways, such as by clicking on the Facebook “Like” button on a business’s, organization’s, or individual’s Facebook page. Sponsored Stories typically include a display of a Facebook user’s Facebook name (i.e., the name the user has associated with his or her Facebook account) and/or profile picture (if the user has uploaded one) with a statement describing the user’s interaction with the Facebook service, such as “John Smith likes UNICEF,” “John Smith played Farmville,” or “John Smith shared a link.”
Can you get money out of the Fraley v. Facebook suit?
So if that ended up happening to you, then you could be a Class Member in the Fraley v. Facebook suit. Wikipedia states that on June 28, 2013, the Court is to hold a Fairness Hearing in San Francisco. After that hearing, Judge Seeborg is expected to issue a final ruling on the settlement. The Fraley v. Facebook website details your legal rights like this:
So yes you can sign up to be a claimant. Keep in mind though that almost every single Facebook user in the US is a potential claimant. If the number of claimants becomes too large as to make it economically unfeasible to split the settlement fund (when the split would mean less than $5 for each claimant, pro-rata) then the court may choose to give all the money to cy-pres not-for-profit organisations that represent the ideals of the plaintiff instead.
What else could come from the Fraley v. Facebook lawsuit
If the settlement does get approved part of the settlement states that Facebook will have to give their users better control and oversight as to what personal information is used for sponsored stories. Considering Facebook’s history… this is good news for everyone. On December 3, 2012, Judge Richard Seeborg preliminarily approved the Fraley vs Facebook Amended Settlement Agreement. Out of that Facebook would agree to do the following:
- Provides a mechanism whereby users can discover if they are appearing in Sponsored Stories advertisements
- Provides a mechanism whereby users can prevent the future appearance in advertisements by that advertiser
- Gives parents control over whether their minor children appear in any advertisements at all
- Gives minors the ability to completely opt-out of all advertisements while they are minors
- Allows affected users to file a claim that may result in an award of $10
For more information you can hit up the website www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com.