While Chick-fil-A was serving you sandwiches, Facebook’s parent company was also giving information to Meta. Aaccording to new claim In a filing Sunday, the fast food chain did so in violation of one of the only federal privacy laws in the United States.
For the past four years, Chick-fil-A has aired a whimsical cartoon called The Stories of Evergreen Hills during the Christmas season. We’ve embedded a seven-minute sample below, so you can watch it if you don’t mind. These low-budget holiday masterpieces are available on YouTube or you can check them out on Chick-fil-A’s dedicated website, evergreenhills.com. This website has attracted the attention of privacy lawyers because of the way it tracks and shares data.
Like hundreds of millions of other websites, evergreenhills.com has an embedded Meta pixel, a tracker that sends information to the social media company about who is visiting the site. Companies like Chick-fil-A use this information to retarget people with ads and measure how well your ad campaigns are performing. pThe plaintiffs allege that Chick-fil-A violated a law called the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which says you can’t share personally identifiable information about people’s video views without their videos. consent.
A meta pixel does not typically collect your name, phone number, or home address, but it does collect unique ID numbers that social media companies use to identify you and target you with ads. According to privacy advocates, this clearly meets the criteria for personally identifiable information because information that personally identifies you. But aggrieved Chick-fil-A customers will have to make that argument to a judge.
Contrary to popular belief, privacy laws are largely non-existent in the United States, particularly at the federal level. A few state data privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, give you some rights after the data is collected, but they generally require companies to get your consent.
But when video is involved, you enter a legal gray area.
The VPPA is a 1988 law called the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) designed to protect information about people’s videotape rentals, written after the press leaked a list of failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s movie-watching habits.
Three decades then, this law can land the fryer Chick-fil-A, along with the growing list every company on the planet shows videos online.
The VPPA says that “video feed service providers” (or anyone offering similar services) cannot disclose personally identifiable information about what videos you watch without your informed, written consent. If the company shares your information in violation of the law, it owes you $2,500, not including potential punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. When there’s a class action lawsuit involving thousands or millions of potential victims, that money adds up quickly.
However, it is not clear whether the structure of the Internet is within the scope of the Reagan-era privacy law. The multi-million dollar question is how courts will define “personally identifiable information.”
Chick-fil-A is in good company. Over the past year, there has been an absolute explosion in class action lawsuits filed for alleged VPPA violations. In October, Bloomberg Law identified 47 separate lawsuits against companies including the NBA, GameStop, CNN, BuzzFeed and People Magazine owner Dotdash Meredith, and the number has since grown. It can be said that lawyers are looking for more websites to file lawsuits. It’s like a meme for lawyers.
This is what it looks like when you read the text of the law C. of sending video tracking information that allows a company to identify youongress wanted to protect in the 80s. But if this is true, it will hit the chicken fan. This kind of information sharing is similar to how the internet works (which is unfortunate for anyone who likes not to be spied on). Almost every website you visit has Meta pixels and similar tracking tools. If every single one of the websites with the videos violates the law, the companies could be banned for dozens, if not hundreds of terms. billions dollars.