As if I needed more reasons for pulling the plug on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. (And I have to say, I don’t miss all the stupid and misleading games, memes, and ads the least little bit.)
Today I received a letter from my health care provider, Novant Health, informing me about “the possibility that sensitive information [about me] may have been transmitted to Facebook in error.”
It turns out, that when Novant was scrambling to get patients connected online to the “MyChart” portal at the height of the Covid pandemic, they place advertisements on Facebook about the use and benefits of using the online MyChart portal (which I use practically every time I correspond with any of my doctors). Facebook, in turn, to ostensibly “assist you understand the success of those campaign efforts” (Sarcasm alert: Aren’t they being altruistic and helpful?), then placed a “tracking pixel” on Novant’s website.
It turns out, that this tracking pixel (you do understand how small a single PIXEL on a website screen is, don’t you?) was “unfortunately configured incorrectly,” and “may have allowed certain private information to be transmitted to Meta from the Novant Health Website and MyChart portal.”
In other words? Meta used Novant’s advertisements to illegally glean information about patients like me (and maybe you) that is supposed to be protected by the HIPPA act.
And sorry – color me cynical and suspicious, if you will – this all happened simply because Facebook “made a mistake?” This was due to a tracking pixel that was “configured incorrectly?” Sure it was. (“BS, he says – under his breath”) All just a human error wasn’t it? From the company that tracks you, sells your data, lies to you and then laughs at your gullibility. Facebook users? Buyer Beware – as a friend of mine, a computer scientist who should know, reminded me this week, “if you aren’t paying for a product or service, then you ARE the product or service they are selling.”