A lawsuit has been launched against Facebook owner Meta alleging the social media giant broke privacy laws over using a tracking tool to get people’s private health details.
The suit filed in the Northern District of California is the second accusing US hospitals of providing Meta with the private medical data of millions without consent.
The hospitals are accused of utilizing Meta’s Pixel tool to retrieve patients’ password-protected portals.
The hospitals are then accused of sharing sensitive health information which the company subsequently sold to Facebook advertisers.
Meta Pixel is a tool that helps businesses measure and grow audiences for advertising campaigns.
The tech titan is accused of exploiting the data to provide personalized health and treatment ads on Facebook.
In a June investigation by the nonprofit newsroom, The Markup, the Meta Pixel is used by 33 of America’s top 100 hospitals.
The complaint outlines one Facebook user’s experience with receiving targeted ads for medicine linked to heart and knee ailments that she had registered in her private patient portal at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.
Meta’s policy says advertisers should not give data to the firm that they know contains health, financial, or other sensitive information.
The complaint, however, charges Meta with deliberately obtaining this sensitive medical data from healthcare websites.
The Facebook parent has already been criticized for its data-tracking policies.
It was reported that the company is currently working on a “basic ads” product that doesn’t rely on users’ personal data.
Source: Business Insider