HBO was hit with a class action lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that it shares subscribers viewing history with Facebook, in violation of a federal privacy law.
A class action law firm, Bursor & Fisher, filed the suit in federal court in New York on behalf of two HBO Max subscribers, Angel McDaniel and Constance Simon. The lawsuit argues that HBO's sharing of subscribers viewing history with Facebook violated the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), a 1988 law aimed at protecting video privacy rights, and argues that HBO knew Facebook could aggregate this type of data because HBO was a major advertiser on Facebook and actually used this information to retarget Facebook ads to its own subscribers.
Over the last decade, several streaming providers — including Hulu, AMC Networks and ESPN — have been hit with similar claims under the VPPA. A judge ruled in favor of Hulu in 2015, finding that Hulu did not knowingly transmit data to Facebook that could be used to establish an individual’s viewing history but the issue remains contested.