Facebook Users Entitled to $17,500 for Facebook Data Leak-Mostly Fiction!

Facebook Users Entitled to $17,500 for Facebook Data Leak-Mostly Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

As fallout mounted from revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained unauthorized access to 87 million Facebook users’ personal data, rumors spread that affected Facebook users are entitled to $17,500 in damages.

The Truth:

A number of class-action lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the Facebook data leak. It remains to be seen if damages will be awarded in those cases. But claims that Facebook users are entitled to $17,500 were false as of April 2018.
Those claims have been widely circulated on social media. Most accounts cite comments made by law professor Maureen Mapp’s in an interview with British-based The Sun. Mapp argued that each Facebook user in the U.K. could be entitled to £12,500 in damages ($1,760) under the Data Protection Act of 1998. Another legal scholar quoted in the article said a “more likely outcome” would be U.K. Facebook users being awarded £500 each under the law. Either way, both assertions are speculation at this point. And neither scenario would apply to Facebook users outside the U.K.

False claims that Facebook users are entitled to $17,500 in damages cite a U.K. law that wouldn’t apply to Americans.

Still, rumors that Facebook users could be entitled to $17,500 in damages because of the data breach spread across social media in April 2018. These accounts (falsely) claimed that, with 2 billion users, Facebook would be on the hook for about $10 billion. However, the U.K.’s Data Protection Act doesn’t apply to all Facebook users. And it’s not clear that even U.K. Facebook users will be entitled to damages.
 
But two San Diego-based law firms are leading a class action lawsuit in response to the data leak. Coastal Law Group and Blood, Hurst & O’Reardon are leading the case. Jordan O’Hara, a San Diego native and Navy veteran, is the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, the San Diego Tribune reports:

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday, one of several that have been filed around the country on similar claims.
The lawsuit accuses Facebook of failing to protect the personal information of its users, despite assurances on its site that users “own all of the content and information” they post on Facebook, and that users “can control how it is shared” by using the platform’s privacy settings.
“This is false and misleading,” the lawsuit argues.

The fate of the class-action lawsuit is unknown at this point. Facebook users who want to learn more about it can contact Coastal Law Group group directly. Because Facebook users aren’t entitled to $17,500 at this point, but it’s unclear if damages will be rewarded in the future, we’re calling this rumor “mostly fiction.”