Meta Platforms Inc. attempted to escape a proposed class action that accused the company of tracking mental health patients online, even if they didn’t have Facebook accounts. The plaintiffs, who remained anonymous, claimed that Meta was collecting their sensitive health data from digital therapy provider Cerebral without their knowledge. Judge William H. Orrick denied the company’s dismissal motion in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, stating that the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged violations of California statutes and common law to proceed with the case.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the volume of online tracking class action filings in courts across the United States. This case is just one example of the growing concerns over digital privacy and data collection, particularly with regards to sensitive health information. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that similar cases will continue to emerge, sparking important debates and legal actions surrounding the protection of individuals’ online privacy.
The implications of this case are significant, particularly in the context of mental health privacy and the use of digital platforms to provide therapeutic services. The decision to deny Meta’s dismissal motion indicates that the court is taking these concerns seriously and recognizes the potential harm that can result from the unauthorized tracking and collection of sensitive health data.
As this case moves forward, it will be important to monitor how it may impact the broader landscape of online privacy regulations and the responsibilities of companies in safeguarding individuals’ personal information. Additionally, the outcome of this case may provide valuable insights into the legal standards and obligations surrounding data privacy, particularly in the context of mental health treatment and therapy services provided through digital platforms.