Dec 3 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday gave his
preliminary approval to a second attempt by Facebook Inc
to settle a class action lawsuit which charges t h e social
networking company with violating privacy rights.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in California rejected a
settlement in August over Facebook's 'Sponsored Stories'
advertising feature, questioning why it did not award money to
Facebook members for using their personal information.
But in a ruling handed down Monday, Seeborg said a revised
settlement "falls within the range of possible approval as fair,
reasonable and adequate."
In a revised proposal, Facebook and plaintiff lawyers said
users now could claim a cash payment of up to $10 each to be
paid from a $20 million total settlement fund. Any money
remaining would then go to charity.
The company also said it would engineer a new tool to enable
users to view content that might have been displayed in
Sponsored Stories and opt out if they desire, a court document
If it receives final approval, the proposed settlement would
resolve a 2011 lawsuit originally filed by five Facebook Inc
The lawsuit alleged the Sponsored Stories feature violated
California law by publicizing users' "likes" of certain
advertisers without paying them or giving them a way to opt out.
The case involved over 100 million potential class members.
A spokesman for Facebook said the company was "pleased that
the court has granted preliminary approval of the proposed
settlement." Lawyers for the plaintiffs weren't immediately
available for comment Monday evening.
Outside groups and class members will have a chance to
object to the latest settlement before Seeborg decides whether
to grant final approval. A hearing on the fairness of the deal
has been set for June 28, 2013.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
is Angel Fraley et al., individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated vs. Facebook Inc, 11-cv-1726.