Facebook Meta Pixel Lawsuit

Facebook describes its Meta Pixel feature as a snippet of JavaScript code that users can put on their website. Once Pixel is installed, it tracks what forms website visitors click on, and what options users select from dropdown menus. Recently, The Markup/STAT released a report summarizing a test it ran on the 100 top hospitals in the United States.

The study found that one-third of these hospitals use Meta Pixel on their websites. More ominously, the study identified 7 hospital systems that had installed Meta Pixel on their patient portals behind password protection. Pixel, the study found, was transmitting sensitive patient data to Facebook. This information, which included patient conditions, could be tied to specific patients through their IP addresses. 

One minor problem: The hospitals did not obtain consent from patients to track their data, nor did Meta have a business associate agreement with the hospitals, according to the allegations in a recent lawsuit. In late June of 2022, patient John Doe, on behalf of himself and other individuals, filed a proposed Facebook Pixel class-action lawsuit in federal court in Northern California. The Meta Pixel lawsuit alleges that Meta violated state and federal laws governing the collection of patient data without consent. Details of the Facebook Pixel lawsuit are provided below.

Meta Pixel Lawsuit: The Damage The Markup Found

The Markup found that Pixel exposed protected health information at some of the nation’s top hospitals. When The Markup clicked the “Finish Booking” button on a Scripps Memorial Hospital doctor’s page, Meta Pixel sent Facebook the name and specialty of the patient’s doctor, and the “dummy” patient’s first name, last name, email address, phone number, zip code, and city of residence that The Markup entered into the online booking form.

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Meta Pixel Lawsuit: Facebook Goes (Back) to Court

When The Markup published its findings, public reaction was swift and adverse. Within days of the report a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against Meta.

“Despite knowingly receiving health-related information from medical providers, Facebook has not taken any action to enforce or validate its requirement that medical providers obtain adequate consent from patients before providing patient data to Facebook,” the Meta Pixel lawsuit alleges

The Meta Pixel lawsuit claims this wrongdoing constitutes a breach of contract, an invasion of California’s constitutional right to privacy, and a violation of the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Facebook has not yet filed an answer to the Meta Pixel lawsuit. However, when it was asked to comment on the Facebook Pixel lawsuit allegations, it stated: “Facebook promises users, that “publishers can send us information through Meta Business Tools [such as