‘We won $750M’

By Alex P. Vidal

“My goal was never to make Facebook cool. I am not a cool person.”— Mark Zuckerberg

THOSE who have been a Facebook user in the United States within the past 16 years like this writer have roughly one week left to file for payment in the company’s $725 million data privacy case, the CNN has reported.

I used the editorial we in the title of this article because I am actually qualified to file a claim, having been a Facebook user in the United States within the specified period.

It’s another story if I will file a claim.

In December, Facebook’s parent, Meta, reportedly agreed to pay the massive sum to settle a host of privacy-related class action lawsuits alleging, among other things, that Facebook let third parties access its users’ private data and that of their friends without users’ permission.

That private information may have included everything from birthdays and hometowns to more personal information, such as private messages.

The amount of each share of the settlement will depend on how many people file valid claims and how long the account has been active.

To file online, those qualified to claim in the lawsuits must submit the claim using the form before midnight on Friday, August 25.

Let’s see what we can do about this “victory.”


How much will I be paid? That depends on three factors: 1) how many people file valid claims; 2) how long we were an active Facebook user between May 24, 2007 and December 22, 2022; and 3) what the total net settlement fund will be after administrative, legal and other costs are subtracted.

Based on how long we were a Facebook user, Meta notes that the settlement administrator will award one point for each month we had an activated account.

The administrator will then add up all the points assigned to all valid claimants and divide the net settlement amount by that total number of points. That will determine how much we would be paid for each month we were an active user.

According to CNNWire, using an oversimplified example, if the net settlement amount is $100 and the total number of points for all claimants adds up to 500, we would be paid 20 cents ($100/500) for every month we had an open account between May 2007 and December 2022.

If our accounts were activated for, say, 52 months we would receive $10.40 (20 cents x 52 months). If it were activated all 187 months of that period we would receive $37.40.


A DOCTRINE that identifies God with the universe or regards the universe as a manifestation of God is called pantheism.

Pantheists do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god, and hold a broad range of doctrines differing with regards to the forms of and relationships between divinity and reality.

Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza came from a Jewish family who had fled to Holland from Portugal to escape the oppression of the Catholic Church.

His whole life was to be subject to religious persecution.

He believed that Christianity and Judaism were kept alive by rigid dogma and ritual.

He denied that the Bible was inspired by God down to the last letter, saying that when we read the Bible we must continually bear in mind the period in which it was written.

He proposed “critical” reading, which revealed a number of inconsistencies in the texts.


Spinoza said that everything is nature. He identified nature with God, saying that God is all, and all is God. This is called pantheism. To Spinoza, God did not create the world in order to stand outside it. God is the world.

So, it follows that all our thoughts are also God’s or nature’s thoughts. There is only one God, one nature, or one Substance.

His philosophy is notoriously hard to understand. He was influenced by Rene Descartes but rejected his distinction of thought and matter as two separate substances, believing there was only one.

Everything that exists can be reduced to one single reality which he simply called Substance.

Spinoza said that it was our passions–such as ambition and lust–which prevent us from achieving true happiness and harmony, but that if we recognize that everything happens from necessity, we can achieve an intuitive understanding of nature as a whole.

We can come to realize with crystal clarity that everything is One.

The goal is to comprehend everything that exists in an all-embracing perception. Only then will we achieve true happiness and contentment.

This was what Spinoza called seeing everything “sub specie aeternitatis,” which means to see everything from the perspective of eternity.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)