Registered BuzzFeed users who have Facebook accounts and watched videos on BuzzFeed.com within the past two years.
What’s Going On?
It’s believed that BuzzFeed may have used a tracking tool on its website to record certain users’ activities – specifically, which videos they watch – and secretly share this data with Facebook. Attorneys are now gathering BuzzFeed accountholders to take legal action over potential privacy violations.
What Am I Signing Up For, Exactly?
You’re signing up for what’s known as “mass arbitration,” which involves hundreds or thousands of consumers bringing individual arbitration claims against the same company at the same time and over the same issue. This is different from class action litigation and takes place outside of court.
Does This Cost Anything?
It costs nothing to sign up, and the attorneys will only get paid if they win your claim.
How Much Could I Get?
While there are no guarantees, the federal Video Privacy Protection Act states that consumers who had their rights violated under the law could be owed $2,500.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are gathering registered BuzzFeed users to take legal action against the digital media company over potential privacy violations.
It’s believed that BuzzFeed may have used a tracking tool called the Meta pixel on its website to secretly gather data about these individuals – specifically, their Facebook IDs and details about the videos they’ve watched on BuzzFeed.com – and pass along the data to Meta without each person’s informed, written consent.
Attorneys suspect that BuzzFeed may have violated the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) by sharing consumers’ private information without permission.
How Could BuzzFeed Be Sharing Data with Facebook?
Many website operators gather data about the people who visit their websites by using an invisible tracking tool called the Meta (formerly known as Facebook) pixel.
The pixel, which can be embedded on any webpage, can be programmed to record every action a visitor takes, such as the buttons they click, the searches they perform and the content they view.
In the case of BuzzFeed.com, attorneys are specifically looking into whether the website is tracking which videos its users have watched and sending that information to Meta along with each person’s Facebook ID. A Facebook ID is a unique identifier linked to an individual’s Facebook profile and could potentially be used to match up a specific person with the videos they’ve watched on BuzzFeed’s website.
In general, the data collected by a website through the Meta pixel can be used by both the website operator and the social media giant to better target advertisements to their users.
It’s believed that BuzzFeed’s suspected data sharing practices may violate the federal Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits “video tape service providers” from disclosing to third parties any information that identifies the video materials a person has requested or watched without their consent.
Is This a Lawsuit? What Am I Signing Up For, Exactly?
You are not signing up for a lawsuit, but rather a process known as mass arbitration. This is a relatively new legal technique that, like a class action lawsuit, allows a large group of people to take action and seek compensation from a company over an alleged wrongdoing. Here is a quick explanation of mass arbitration from our blog:
“[M]ass arbitration occurs when hundreds or thousands of consumers file individual arbitration claims against the same company over the same issue at the same time. The aim of a mass arbitration proceeding is to grant relief on a large scale (similar to a class action lawsuit) for those who sign up.”
BuzzFeed’s user agreement contains both a class action waiver and an arbitration clause requiring customers to resolve disputes via arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution that takes place outside of court before a neutral arbitrator, as opposed to a judge or jury.
It’s for this reason that attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to handle this matter as a mass arbitration rather than a class action lawsuit.
How Much Does This Cost?
It costs nothing to sign up, and you’ll only need to pay if the attorneys win money on your behalf. Their payment will come as a percentage of your award.
If they don’t win your claim, you don’t pay.
How Much Money Could I Get?
There are no guarantees as to how much money you could get or whether your claim will be successful. The VPPA, however, provides that companies may be responsible for paying consumers $2,500 for violations of the law.