Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Nov. 9, 2022.

Images A. Vásquez / Associated Press/Deeksha Pahariya

Yahoo Finance/Jon Healey

Facebook earned more than $110 billion last year by selling advertisements targeted at its users, powered by the data Facebook collected from them.

Now, Facebook users have the chance to collect something back.

A federal judge has tentatively approved an agreement between Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and lawyers for U.S. Facebook users to settle multiple class-action lawsuits brought in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. Meta denies the allegations that it shared users’ data with third parties without permission, but it has nevertheless agreed to pay $725 million into a fund to settle the cases.

Final approval of the settlement isn’t expected for several months, but the preliminary decision opened the door for U.S. Facebook users to file claims — in essence, putting themselves in line for whatever money is paid. How much you collect will depend on three factors: how big the attorney fees and expenses are, how many of the estimated 240 million U.S. Facebook users file claims, and how many years you spent on Facebook.

The proposed settlement would give 25% of the fund to the plaintiffs’ attorneys for legal fees, plus an unspecified amount for legal expenses. That will leave something less than $544 million to be split among those who file claims.

So maybe don’t tell your friends about this?

Here’s what you need to know about the proposed settlement, how to file a claim, and what your options are if you don’t want to be part of the class covered by the agreement.

What are the lawsuits about?

Facebook has been accused many times over the years of hoovering up personal information, then deploying it in ways that users hadn’t known about or consented to. The spate of lawsuits covered by the settlement claimed that the network shared or otherwise made personal information accessible without permission to third parties, including app developers, business partners, advertisers and data brokers, then failed to monitor what was done with it.

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