Mark Zuckerberg and some major hospitals may be in some very hot water. They are being sued for basically stealing people’s protected health information for profit.
Two class-action lawsuits were recently filed against Facebook (now known as Meta) over allegations that the company and major U.S. hospitals violated medical privacy laws with a tracking tool that collected patient data such as allergies and doctor appointments directly to Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
The lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of California in June and July and focused on Facebook’s Pixel tracking tool. The tool is installed on websites to track analytics on Facebook and Instagram ads. The pixel collects information about how people interact with websites and input information.
In early June, an investigation by the Markup found that 33 of the top 100 hospitals in the United States use the Facebook Pixel on their websites. The investigation found that the pixel tracking tool was installed on the password-protected patient portals of seven hospitals.
The Markup further found that the tool was sending information about patient health conditions, doctor appointments, and medication allergies to Facebook. In one lawsuit, a patient alleges that her medical information was sent to Facebook by the tool on the University of California San Francisco and Dignity Health patient portals. The patient was then served advertisements targeted to her heart and knee conditions.
What Meta is doing with Facebook, and how some hospitals are abusing it, is simply unconscionable. Our health information is protected by HIPAA and no one should have that information unless we specifically release it to them. Do you think Zuckerberg knew what he was doing? Should he have to pay every person whose health information was stolen by his company?