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Google Plus users can now receive a settlement from a class-action lawsuit

The company is compensating users for privacy flaws — though the cash might not be as much as you like.

Published onAugust 5, 2020

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  • Google Plus users can file claims in a class-action lawsuit over the social network’s privacy flaws.
  • You have until October 8 to make a choice if you qualify.
  • Don’t expect more than a $12 payout.

Google Plus may have met an ignominious end due in part to privacy flaws, but you can get some money for your trouble.

Many Google Plus users have been told they can file a settlement claim (via 9to5Google) in a class-action lawsuit over the flaws, which let any developer obtain sensitive data from user profiles. Google was allegedly aware of the issue months before alerting the public, although there doesn’t appear to have been misuse.

You’ll qualify if you’re a US resident who had a personal Google Plus account at any point between January 1, 2015 and the service’s shutdown on April 2, 2019. While the claims are officially limited to people whose data was exposed, that effectively covers all users due to the nature of the bugs.

You have until October 8 to make a claim, opt out entirely, or raise an objection over the terms of the settlement.

See also: We ranked 50 failed Google products

Like with many class-action cases, you shouldn’t expect a large payout relative to the damage done. The $7.5 million settlement will only pay a maximum of $12 per person, and then only for roughly 450,000 people. The per-person amount will decrease if more people file claims. It’s more a symbolic payout than practical compensation.

This isn’t likely what you were looking for if Google Plus’ privacy issues created genuine stress, even though there was no direct damage. It also won’t affect business users, who moved on to a G Suite version and eventually Google Currents. It does provide some closure to the social media saga, though, and it serves as a reminder that Google’s privacy issues can have long-term consequences.

Next: Apple’s singular vision for the future should be a wake-up call for Google

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