HBO is sued for allegedly sharing subscriber data with Facebook

HBO is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it provided subscribers’ viewing history to Facebook without proper permission, Diversity reported. The lawsuit alleges HBO provided Facebook with lists of customers, allowing the social network to match their viewing habits to their profiles.

It also alleges that HBO knew Facebook could incorporate data because HBO was a major Facebook advertiser — and that Facebook could then use that information to retarget ads to its subscribers. Since HBO never received the proper consent of its customers to do this, it allegedly violated 1988. Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), according to the lawsuit.

HBO, like other websites, discloses to users that it (and its partners) uses cookies to deliver personalized advertising. However, VPPA requires users’ separate consent to share their video viewing history. “A standard privacy policy will not suffice,” according to the lawsuit.

Other streaming service providers have also been hit with similar claims and TikTok recently agreed paid $92 million for (part of) VPPA violations. In another case, however, a judge rule in 2015 that Hulu did not knowingly share data that could establish an individual’s viewing history with Facebook. The law firm involved in the HBO lawsuit previously won a $50 million settlement with Hearst after alleging that the company violated Michigan privacy laws by selling subscriber data.

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