Facebook users can 'opt out' of Beacon settlement

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Facebook has started sending out emails - under court order - asking members who may have used its Beacon system if they want to opt out of a class action settlement.

The class action suit, filed in California, takes issue with Facebook's advertising system Beacon, saying they weren't given enough warning or the chance to opt out. Facebook and advertisers such as Blockbuster and STA Travel were named in the suit.

Under the terms of the agreement, which were unveiled earlier this year, users won't be winning any payout. Instead, Facebook has shut down Beacon and will set up a fund worth $9.5 million to sponsor online rights activities - and to pay the lawyers in the case their $41,500 in fees.

"This is not a settlement in which class members file claims to receive compensation," the email noted. "Under the proposed settlement, Facebook will terminate the Beacon program. In addition, Facebook will provide $9.5 million to establish an independent non-profit foundation that will identify and fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety, and security."

The settlement's final approval is 26 February of next year, and anyone who used Beacon has the right to "opt out" of the settlement.

By not opting out, it means you agree to the terms of the settlement. "If you choose to do nothing, and remain in the settlement class you will be legally bound by the settlement," according to an information website relating to the case.

"By doing nothing, you will be giving up the right to sue Facebook and the other Defendants over claims related to or arising out of the Beacon programme."

To be excluded from the settlement, you must write to the address here by 1 February.

Facebook has always denied it did anything wrong with the Beacon roll out, the site noted.

Read on for more of the privacy challenges hitting Facebook.