The other day, I got an email in my inbox, and I knew it was important because the subject was in all capital letters, as if the sender were screaming at me to pay attention to it. It read, "Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION." Intrigued, I clicked on it.
The email concerned the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, and I was being offered a chance to be part of it. I don't mean to brag, but apparently I was featured in one or more of Facebook's sponsored stories, and now Facebook owed me money.
I have to admit it has long been my dream to be part of a class action, but it seems like only people who take lots of pills or invest lots of money get to do that. I do neither of those things, so I'm always SOL. Thus, I was a little suspicious of an email that looked so spammy. I figured the first order of business was to see if it was for real.
A quick search led me to an article on Snopes.com that claimed the email was true, but Snopes.com always seems to make the truth skew so liberal that I knew I had to go to a more reputable source. Thus I ended up at Forbes.com, which also said the email was legit. That was good enough for me.
Having ascertained the email's veracity, I decided I was going to sign up. I figured Facebook equals big money equals large payout, but I want you all to know that that's not why I enrolled. For me, it's all about justice.
You see, we here at "I'm With Stupid" take our role as muckraking journalists and guardians of the public's best interests very seriously. We pretty much see ourselves as latter-day Upton Sinclairs and view "I'm With Stupid" as The Jungle for a 21st-century society, and we delight in seeing that evildoers get their comeuppance.
Maybe, as a result of this, Mark Zuckerberg will understand the pain and anguish that I've suffered as a result of not being compensated for helping to pitch his company's sponsored stories. Maybe now he'll understand how that makes me feel as a writer and artist because I feel violated, and no amount of money is going to wash that away.
Anyway, back to the money. The email said, "Facebook will pay $20 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to pay claims of Class Members." I didn't know how many class members there were, but I figured there couldn't be too many. I mean, how many people are really talented enough to be part of a sponsored story?
The email didn't specify how many class members there were going to be, but the Forbes.com article did. I think I may have read it wrong, but it looked as if it was saying there could be 125 million. I'm sure that's a typo. I'm sure what they meant to say was 1,000.
The article also explained how the money most likely would be divvied up. The lawyers for the plaintiffs would take their cut, a paltry $8 million, and the rest would go to us claimants. I did some quick math in my head and realized that even if all 1,000 of us join the class action, that could be a payout of $12,000 headed my way. That ain't chump change.
The way I see it, I'm looking at a minimum of 12 grand. But you have to assume that some people will think the email is spam and delete it right away. A lot of other people probably will decide it's not worth the time and effort and won't enroll. Realistically, I figure there will be about 100 people who actually sign up and become eligible for their share. That means we should all be seeing checks for $120,000 showing up in the mail in a few months. I've already put a down payment on a new Porsche.
But like I said, it's not about the money. Sure, it'll be nice driving a sports car and having an addition put on my home, but the real satisfaction will come from knowing that Facebook did something illegal and didn't get away with it. The way I see it, this is a triumph of the little guy over the powers that be, a defiant blow against the corporatization of America. I'm just honored that "I'm With Stupid" gets to be a part of it.
Todd Hartley encourages you not to sign up for a share of the Facebook settlement. It's totally not worth your time. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net.