Google finally pays users after data scandal: over million people get… 2 dollars

Three years after a lawsuit was filed over a data scandal on the now-defunct social network Google+, Google has reimbursed the first private users. More than a million Americans will soon see compensation on their bills worth a cup of coffee.

Until the end of last year, American users could apply to receive compensation after a major lawsuit from 2018 surrounding the data breach at Google+ resulted in a settlement. In total, the internet giant had to pay 7.5 million dollars, but most users only see a very small part of that. About 2.15 dollars, to be exact. As many as 1.7 million Americans who were active on Google+ filed a claim and are therefore entitled to that compensation.

So no significant gain for the victims. This is because the total amount is not only distributed among the users but also goes to the lawyers and the court costs. Four users who took the lead in the lawsuit also received a slightly larger piece of the pie, up to 1,500 dollars (converted to 1,260 euros). All amounts are expected to be paid in mid-August.

Data scandal

The payouts are the result of a data breach on Google+, a Google social network that was founded in 2011. In 2018, it was revealed that a bug in the system allowed other apps to access users’ private data. This involved data such as names, e-mail addresses, ages, professions, and places of residence – even if they were not visible on the platform.

There was no concrete evidence that the data was being misused, but the scope of the leak was enormous: about 52 million accounts had been vulnerable since 2015.

The case also turned out to be the death knell for Google+, which had been slacking for some time but was finally closed down in 2018. Google was also sued in the United States by several users. Those lawsuits were brought together under one class-action lawsuit, in which a settlement was eventually reached in 2020.

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