Report: Judge Closer To Approving Facebook’s Revised Settlement In Sponsored Stories Suit

By David Cohen 

Did a $10 bill change the mind of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg? Quite possibly, but not in an illegal way: At a hearing in San Francisco Thursday, Seeborg looked more favorably upon Facebook’s revised settlement proposal in a class-action lawsuit over the use of users’ images in sponsored stories, and the judge said he would rule “very shortly.”

In August, Seeborg took issue with the settlement proposal Facebook announced in June, and a major sticking point was the fact that Facebook users received no money, with all of the funds going toward organizations that promote online privacy.

But Reuters reported that Facebook’s revised proposal provides for payments of $10 to each user out of its total settlement fund of $20 million, with the remainder of the money going to charity.

Facebook also said in its revised settlement that it would create a new tool that would allow users to view any of their content that may have been used as part of sponsored stories and opt out of the process.

According to Reuters, if Seeborg does grant his preliminary approval, outside groups will have the opportunity to file further objections before a final hearing is held.

Reuters also reported on an interesting exchange between the judge and Facebook attorney Michael Rhodes, in which Rhodes claimed that the social network’s revised settlement provided meaningful protections, and that the court’s job was to ensure a fair settlement, and not to create national privacy policy, prompting Seeborg to reply:

Trust me, I’m not proposing to set grand policy with privacy issues writ large.

Readers: Do you think this version of Facebook’s settlement will pass muster?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.