If you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective), you recently received an email notifying you that your photo had been used in a "Sponsored Story" on Facebook, asking you if you want to take part in a class action lawsuit. If you choose to do so, and all goes as planned, you could receive up to $10.
According to the email, Facebook used some users' names and faces to advertise for products without asking for permission. As part of a preliminary settlement to the lawsuit (that has Facebook admitting no wrongdoing), anyone who was used without consent can join a a class action lawsuit to get that big, two-figure sum.
Money? And all I have to do is fill out a form? Why not?
Here's why not: the email is completely in legalese and makes the entire process daunting and confusing. But fear not the weird language of lawyers! We'll walk you through the process of filing your claim in nine simple steps. You'll be getting that $10 (or less) in no time.
- See if you got the email. Odds are, you either deleted it or disregarded it because it has a super weird subject, if you've received it. The letter was titled "Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION," so search your inbox and trash and see if you can find the email in there. Here's what the email looks like:
- Scroll down to the bottom of the email. See where it says "More information"? Click on the website www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com that is listed there.
- This website will basically give you the same information as the original email did. Click on the Claim Form tab at the top of the page.
- Click on the link that says "Click here to file a Claim Form online."
- You will then be asked to fill out your contact information, which will be used "to contact you, if necessary, about your claim."
- The next page asks you to fill out your Facebook information, like your email address, the name on your account, and your user ID. You will also be asked to provide your Class Member Number, which is buried toward the bottom of that original email. (Sorry.)
- You will then get to a page that asks for your banking information so that the money will go directly to your account. You can opt to get your payment electronically via ACH (Automated Clearing House) or in the form of a paper check.
- The next page explains exactly what the suit is claiming and asks you to check off that you understand and agree with the lawsuit, so read it! Make sure you agree with the assertions, and then click forward.
- Finally, you can review your information and submit your claim. The end! Now all you have to do is wait patiently, which may be the hardest part.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Show Yourself Breastfeeding
This mommy controversy has long plagued Facebook, as the company states there can be no nudity in its <a href="https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms" target="_hplink">terms of service</a>. But parents argue there's a line between "inappropriate" and "legitimate" images. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/facebook-nurse-in-60-brea_n_1263532.html" target="_hplink">Emma Kwasnica</a> is a breastfeeding advocate who often posts pictures of herself nursing, and as a result, her account has been suspended five times. Kwasnica and other mothers even protested the issue at Facebook headquarters during National Breastfeeding Week.
'Pretend' To Be The Zuck
Apparently there can be only one Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385254,00.asp" target="_hplink">According to PC Mag</a>, in 2011 Mark S. Zuckerberg was kicked off Facebook because of "identity fraud." But this lawyer from Indiana had other Facebook woes before his restricted account: Because of the similarity of his name to the ever-fascinating CEO, S. Zuckerberg was receiving nearly 500 friend request a day. Eventually, after making a few headlines, Facebook apologized and the lawyer regained access to his account.
Share Names With A Celeb
Selena Gomez was recently banned from Facebook. But it wasn't the Disney superstar who's been prohibited from uploading her latest pics; it was just a regular girl, <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/08/05/selena-gomez-banned-facebook/" target="_hplink">TMZ reported</a>. One day Selena Miranda Gomez from New Mexico attempted to access her Facebook account and found she was unable to log in because the social networking site believed she was impersonating the actress, which is against the company's policy. At the time of publication, it was not clear whether Gomez's account had been reactivated.
Set Up A Profile Under Your Famous Pseudonym
Salman Rushdie, who penned titles like <em>Midnight's Children</em> and <em>The Satanic Verses, </em> had his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/salman-rushdie-facebook_n_1092828.html" target="_hplink">Facebook account suspended</a> in 2011 because of what Facebook perceived to be a name discrepancy. While Rushdie's first name is Ahmed, the world knows him by his middle name, Salman. The social network told the author that he wold have to use his first name on his profile. "Dear #Facebook, forcing me to change my FB name from Salman to Ahmed Rushdie is like forcing J. Edgar to become John Hoover," Rushdie sounded off on <a href="https://twitter.com/SalmanRushdie/status/136136147398168576" target="_hplink">his twitter account </a>following the incident. Facebook later restored <a href="https://www.facebook.com/rushdie" target="_hplink">his profile</a>.
Coordinate Hack Attacks
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZNDV4hGUGw" target="_hplink">Operation Payback</a> was a plot from the infamous hacker group Anonymous to take down Visa's website after the credit card company cut off donations to Wikileaks. Hackers gathered on both Facebook and Twitter to plan and promote an attack, causing their accounts to be suspended on the social networking sites, <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/news/wikileaks-hackers-attack-visa-get-banned-by-facebook-twitter/490442" target="_hplink">according to ZDNet. </a>
Take Odd Pics Of Your Kids
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/lauren-ferrari-banned-facebook-breastfeeding_n_1709928.html" target="_hplink">Lauren Ferrari was banned from Facebook</a> for seven days after she posted a photo of her 5-year-old pretending to nurse her younger sibling. While Ferrari didn't think much of the image when she uploaded it, both Facebook and the police found the photo to be problematic. The Seattle Police Department said her actions showed "poor parenting," which sparked an online controversy about what should and should not be put online.
Spam Your 'Friends'
Adam Guerbuez was fined $873 million after sending out more than 4 million spam messages about penis-enlargements, porn and marijuana, <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/207046/facebook_spammer_tries_to_cash_in_on_873_million_fine.html" target="_hplink">according to PC World</a>. This behavior got Guerbuez kicked off of Facebook and caused him to file for bankruptcy in 2010.
Pretend You're Over 13 When You're Not
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/facebook-underage-users_n_839437.html" target="_hplink">In 2011 Facebook's chief privacy adviser</a> said that an average of 20,000 underage Facebook user accounts are shut down each day. The social networking site has a strict policy stating that only those over the age of 13 are allowed to maintain a personal profile.
Add Script Or Code To The Site
<em>"Hello, Our systems indicate that you've been highly active on Facebook lately and viewing pages at a quick enough rate that we suspect you may be running an automated script."</em> How would you like to get that email from Facebook? That's exactly what happen to tech-blogger <a href="http://scobleizer.com/2008/01/03/ive-been-kicked-off-of-facebook/" target="_hplink">Robert Scoble</a>. Apparently he had added an address book importer to his Facebook account, but any additional script whatsoever just doesn't fly with this social media site. His account was restored after he "<a href="http://scobleizer.com/2008/01/03/ive-been-kicked-off-of-facebook/" target="_hplink">made a public stink</a>" about the ordeal online.