A U.S. District judge tasked with bestowing final approval on the legal settlement between Facebook and its users over the “Sponsored Stories” ads is crunching the numbers in the case and he’s just a bit befuddled. Both Facebook and the plaintiffs floated a $123 million amount as the value of the settlement, but then somehow the company is only going to hand over $20 million in legal fees and donations to charity.
Soooooo, what about that $123 million that was mentioned? It just doesn’t add up, said the judge in a hearing this week on the settlement.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said during the hearing, reports Reuters.
See, the lawsuit against Facebook using its members as basically unpaid marketers by turning their “Likes” into ads was a class action effort, with about 100 million potential class members. Facebook agreed in the settlement to allow users more control over how their information is used, but there was also an economist’s opinion included in the settlement papers that the value to Facebook members because of those changes was about $103 million.
The judge wondered why class members shouldn’t also be entitled to recover a chunk of change from this whole ordeal, adding, “I want to know more about why that is so.”
One of Facebook’s attorneys said the two sides couldn’t come up with a way to figure out the value of each individual user’s endorsement, and that the value users get from being able to opt out totally if they’re minors is worth a lot. After all, if they can’t make money on a minor, that’s less revenue for them, right?
The judge will make a final decision on the settlement months from now, ostensibly while all this math gets figured out. But at around 100 million class members and $103 million to be spread around, that’s $1 each. But hey, it’s the thought that counts…?