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US Judge approves Facebook payoff

Did not go far enough to protect privacy

A US judge granted final approval to Facebook's $20 million settlement of a lawsuit over targeted advertising.

Five plaintiffs filed a class action against Facebook in 2011, saying the social networking giant's "Sponsored Stories" program shared users' "likes" of certain advertisers with friends without paying them or allowing them to opt out. A "Sponsored Story" is an advertisement that appears on a member's Facebook page and generally consists of a friend's name, profile picture and an assertion that the person "likes" the advertiser.

Facebook will pay $20 million to compensate class members, and promised to give users more control over how their content is shared. Facebook charged advertisers nearly $234 million for Sponsored Stories between January 2011 and August 2012, court filings show.

US District Judge Richard Seeborg wrote that the settlement, "while not incorporating all features that some of the objectors might prefer, has significant value."

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