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Facebook to pay $15 to users appearing in Sponsored Stories

Staff writer |
Approximately 614,000 users whose personal details appeared in ads on Facebook without their permission will receive $15 each. The names and pictures of an approximately 150 million users were used in Sponsored Stories.

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However, only those users who responded to an email from the site will be compensated. Privacy organisations will also receive some of the $20 million settlement. Facebook said it was "pleased" the settlement had been approved.

The payout was approved by a U.S. court, following a class action filed against Facebook in 2011 by five users who said their details had been used to promote products and services through the Sponsored Stories programme, without paying them or giving them the choice to opt-out.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said that the $15 is a small amount but that it had not been established that Facebook had "undisputedly violated the law" and that the claimants could not prove they were "harmed in any meaningful way".

The court estimated that Facebook had made about $73 million in profit from the Sponsored Stories featuring details of the 150 million members. The settlement also requires Facebook to make changes to its Statement of Rights and to give users more information and control over how their details will be used.

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