Facebook’s data collection on hospital websites highlights Meta’s scorn for privacy laws

Earlier this month it was discovered that Facebook, through its tracker Meta Pixel, may be collecting special personal information with regards to individuals’ medical information. According to a report by ArsTechnica and The Markup, the tracking tool is installed on many US hospitals’ websites and has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information – including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments – which is then sent to Facebook.

The tracker would be illegal in South Africa, but this does not mean that the Meta group is not using it on SA search engines or websites. The Meta Pixel tracks your use of certain medical websites including doctor appointment online forms. The discovery again highlights concerns regarding a user’s privacy when operating a device with any Meta group applications – like Facebook and WhatsApp etc. installed. And it seems would that the ideas of “privacy” and “user autonomy” are merely concepts in law and are not being observed or considered by the tech giants.

Consumers should be wary of this in that, if you utilise these Meta group apps the question is not, “Is my personal information being processed?” but rather, “How much of my personal and special information is being illegally processed?”

By Chanique Rautenbach
Senior Associate

CHANIQUE RAUTENBACH
Senior Associate

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