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Boston Globe Subscribers’ Video Viewing Info Sent to Facebook Class Action

This class action brings suit against Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC for violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The complaint alleges that Boston Globe shares with Facebook the personally identifiable information (PII) of its subscribers, along with information on every video they view at its website, without their consent.

The class for this action is all persons in the US who have a Facebook account, subscribed to the Boston Globe, and viewed videos on Boston Globe’s website.

Boston Globe offers news and other content on a daily basis. It earns its income through subscriptions and sales of advertising space.

The complaint quotes the VPPA as aspiring to give consumers the ability to “maintain control over personal information divulged and generated in exchange for receiving services from video tape service providers.” The VPPA also says, “The Act reflects the central principle of the Privacy Act of 1974: that information collected for one purpose may not be used for a different purpose without the individual’s consent.”

The complaint also quote the VPPA to support the allegations in this class action, saying that it forbids “[a] video tape service provider who knowingly discloses, to any person, personally identifiable information concerning any consumer of such provider”—and this personally identifiable information (PII) includes “information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video service provider.”

Facebook sells advertising space on its website. The complaint alleges that it touts “its ability to target users. Facebook can target users so effectively because it surveils user activity both on and off its site. This allows Facebook to make inferences about users beyond what they explicitly disclose, like their ‘interests,’ ‘behavior,’ and ‘connections.’”

According to the complaint, “Facebook compiles this information into a generalized dataset called ‘Core Audiences,’ which advertisers use to apply highly specific filters and parameters for their targeted advertisements.” As an alternative, it offers advertisers the opportunity to build Custom Audiences or Lookalike Audiences.

Facebook also offers advertisers something it calls the Facebook Tracking Pixel which can be put into advertisers’ websites. The complaint quotes Facebook as saying that this “tracks the people and type of actions they take.” It then sends records of these actions to Facebook, the complaint alleges, after which Facebook “processes, analyzes it, and assimilates it into datasets like the Core Audiences and Custom Audiences.”

The complaint alleges that Boston Globe uses this Facebook Tracking Pixel to report three kinds of events to Facebook: Page View, Microdata, and Button Click. These permit specific individuals’ video viewing behavior to be tracked.

The complaint reviews the process in detail.

The complaint alleges, “Boston Globe discloses this information so it can better match visitors to their Facebook profiles, which thereby allows Boston Globe to better target its advertisements.” The complaint claims that the disclosure of information to Facebook is done without the users’ consent.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Boston Globe Subscribers’ Video Viewing Info Sent to Facebook Complaint

February 5, 2022

This class action brings suit against Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC for violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The complaint alleges that Boston Globe shares with Facebook the personally identifiable information (PII) of its subscribers, along with information on every video they view at its website, without their consent.

Boston Globe Subscribers’ Video Viewing Info Sent to Facebook Complaint

Case Event History

Boston Globe Subscribers’ Video Viewing Info Sent to Facebook Complaint

February 5, 2022

This class action brings suit against Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC for violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The complaint alleges that Boston Globe shares with Facebook the personally identifiable information (PII) of its subscribers, along with information on every video they view at its website, without their consent.

Boston Globe Subscribers’ Video Viewing Info Sent to Facebook Complaint
Tags: Sharing Personal Information with Third Parties, Your Privacy