The Seattle Times reports that Costco has been sued for "allegedly" sharing its online customers' "private communications and health information with Facebook-parent Meta without their consent." The lawsuit charges that Costco "used Meta Pixel, a code that allows companies to track visitor activity on their websites, in the health care portion of its website. The tracking pixel would allow Meta to have access to users’ personal and health information."
“Costco represents to patients that its website, which includes its pharmacy webpages, is a secure platform,” said the suit, which is seeking a class-action status. “Yet, Costco fails to disclose or omits the fact that it shares patient online activities and personal health information with Meta via Pixel.”
Costco has not commented on the lawsuit, nor has it yet responded to it via legal filings.
However, "Meta, which is not named as a defendant in this lawsuit, said in a statement its system can filter out sensitive data. 'Advertisers should not send sensitive information about people through our business tools,' Meta said Monday. 'Doing so is against our policies and we educate advertisers on properly setting up business tools to prevent this from occurring.' Costco is considered a Meta advertiser."
- KC's View:
Don't want to comment too much until Costco has responded and the legal direction of this suit takes shape. That said, it must be pointed out that customer data and communications should be sacrosanct. If retailers share it, or even make it available by accident, they put their relationship with their customers at risk.