Meta is being sued for selling US hospitals a data-tracking technology that allegedly gave Facebook patient records, A new lawsuit has been filed alleging that the company Meta has unauthorized access to the private medical data of millions of people and has exploited this information to provide tailored advertisements on Facebook for various medicines and treatments.
This is the second lawsuit of its kind to be filed in the Northern District of California, and it claims hospitals in the United States of providing Meta with sensitive patient information in violation of HIPAA. The lawsuit was filed last week. The suit was first mentioned on The Verge’s news site earlier on Tuesday.
According to the complaint, these institutions made use of a program developed by Meta called Pixel, which subsequently accessed patients’ password-protected portals and exchanged sensitive health information with Meta, who then sold this information to advertisers on Facebook.
Advertisement campaigns can be measured and their audiences expanded with the use of a program called Meta Pixel, which is designed for enterprises.
The Markup, non-profit journalism, conducted a study in the month of June and found that 33 of the top 100 hospitals in the United States employ the Meta Pixel.
The complaint describes the experience of one Facebook user who began receiving targeted advertisements for medication related to heart and knee conditions that she had entered in her private patient portal at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Specifically, the complaint describes how the user had entered this information at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.
According to the guideline outlined by Meta, advertisers are not permitted to provide the company with information that they are aware includes sensitive categories such as health, financial, or other types of information. On the other hand, the lawsuit claims that Meta deliberately collected this sensitive medical data from websites associated with healthcare providers.
Insider sought a statement from Meta regarding this article, but Meta declined to issue one.
Insider has stated that the company is now constructing a “simple advertisements” product that does not rely on users’ personal information. Meta has been criticized in the past for its data-tracking rules, and Insider has revealed that the company is building this product.