Zuckerburg & Co. owe you $10 dollars!

Social media wannabes heard that right but just a sec, read the fine print please! It may seem like a joke or a dud publicity stunt. The reality is that it just isn't.

What's ensued is that Facebook has finally decided to settle the long pending class action lawsuit against it since 2011. If you or your acquaintances just received a mail from the Facebook support alighting you with a e-mail notice about a pending settlement, we say you are one of the lucky "$10" blokes!

Jokes apart, this settlement delves into the same old problem afflicting the web users nowadays- DATA PRIVACY.

A Seattle-based seamstress Angel Fraley spearheaded the class action lawsuit against Facebook following the misuse of private data such as names and user likenesses in Facebook's Sponsered Story Ads. The long overdue settlement has come in the wake of a supposed compromise with the Facebook team. However the Court will pass its final verdict in its June 28th, 2013 Fairness Hearing in San Francisco. Till then the virtual pointers of the temporary agreement are being worked out.

Facebook issued a notice on January 2, 2013 defining the supposed "class" Of claimants entitled to a compensation.

The brokered deal is applicable for American users only whose information might have been misappropriated before December 2, 2012. Moreover the claim forms have to be filled out by May 2nd before the Court adjudicates.

"1. Provides a mechanism whereby users can discover if they are appearing in Sponsored Stories advertisements

2. Provides a mechanism whereby users can prevent the future appearance in advertisements by that advertiser

3. Changes the terms of use, known as the "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities", to inform users they can be used in Sponsored Stories
Gives parents control over whether their minor children appear in any advertisements at all

4. Gives minors the ability to completely opt-out of all advertisements while they are minors

5. Allows affected users to file a claim that may result in an award of $10"

The legal parties have set up a Fund worth $20 million and foregoing the legal costs involved, the leftover amount is to be used for settling the compensation dues. However things are not as simple as it appears.

What most industry analysts are pinning their aces on, is the fact that the lawsuit is a double-edged settlement in favor of Facebook Inc. The catch is that the "cy pres doctrine" may be brought into action here.

Accoring to this legal doctrine, when the purpose of a lawsuit becomes "impossible, impracticable or illegal to perform", the trust funds are reverted to charitable causes afloat.

In this case, the actual number of claimants still remains elusive. In case of an eventuality whereby the money left in the settlement pool is less than $4.99 per person, the doctrine can be brought into action. This gives Facebook a fair chance to save its face by diverting the funds to NGOs such as Centre For Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, MacArthur Founadation, or any academic organization involved with social media education.

So basically the issue is not about the $10 one gets, rather the awkward imbalance between making the Internet an open source niche with adequate privacy measures so far as individual users are concerned. How the semblance of a mutually acceptable compromise will be reached is yet to be seen. But cases like these popping up time and again remind us of the swift measures that need to be taken.

We wish all our readers become prudent data users. You can share with us your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

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