By Christina Maas June 22, 2022
Meta has been sued over allegations that sensitive medical data is shared secretly with Facebook when patients access the portals of some health-care centers.
The basis of the lawsuit is Pixel, a tracking tool owned by Facebook.
The tool redirects patients’ private data without consent, which is a violation of state and federal laws, according to the lawsuit filed in a San Francisco federal court. The unidentified complainant is proposing a class action on behalf of millions.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
This week, news outlet The Markup published a report alleging that 33 of the hospitals in Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals use Pixel in the web portals. According to the lawsuit, at least 664 healthcare systems and providers use Pixel.
The plaintiff said he is a patient at a health-care facility in Baltimore and uses the facility’s portal to make appointments, communicate with providers, and review lab results. He is seeking punitive damages for invasion of privacy, violation of the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, breach of contract, and multiple other violations.
Meta’s help center page states: “If Meta’s signals filtering mechanism detects Business Tools data that it categorizes as potentially sensitive health-related data, the filtering mechanism is designed to prevent that data from being ingested into our ads ranking and optimization systems.”