HBO is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it gave subscribers’ viewing history to Facebook without proper permission, Variety reported. The lawsuit accuses HBO of providing Facebook with lists of customers, allowing the social network to match viewing habits with their profiles.
It further alleges that HBO knows that Facebook can combine the data because HBO is a major Facebook advertiser — and Facebook can then use that information to retarget ads to its subscribers. Because HBO never received proper customer consent to do so, it would have violated the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (VPPA), according to the suit.
Other streaming providers have been hit with similar claims, and TikTok recently agreed to pay a $92 million settlement for (partially) violating the VPPA. In another case, however, a judge ruled in 2015 that Hulu did not knowingly share data with Facebook that could establish an individual’s viewing history.
The law firm involved in the HBO lawsuit had previously won a $50 million settlement with Hearst after alleging that it violated Michigan privacy laws by selling subscriber data.