If court approval is granted, Foodspotting, Foursquare, Gowalla, Instagram, Kik, Path, Twitter and Yelp will share in creating the settlement fund which will pay out an estimated 0.53 cents per user, to more than 7 million users.
The lawsuit was filed in 2012 and alleges the tech and social media companies, through their services, used “unconscionable, illegal practices” in accessing contacts belonging to users without the users’ consent. The plaintiffs assert that this is equivalent to the contacts being “accessed and stolen.”
The suit was brought following publicity around reported breaches of privacy. The Federal Trade Commission also investigated the charges, which resulted in an $800,000 settlement with the social network app Path over its practices. A settlement hearing will be held on May 25. If approved, the settlement would apply primarily to iOS users whose address books were accessed and contacts were viewed by the defendants, without permission, between 2010 and February 2012.
Settlement payments will be made to class members via the Amazon accounts of those affected, unless they request payment in the form of a check. Any unclaimed funds from the settlement will be given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.