Lawsuit Investigation: Did AMC, Harkins, Bow Tie Movie Theaters Violate Online Customers’ Privacy?
Last Updated on March 22, 2023
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone with a Facebook account who purchased a movie ticket online from AMC Theatres, Harkins Theatres or Bow Tie Cinemas.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys are investigating whether the movie theater chains have violated a federal privacy law by secretly sharing online ticket buyers’ personal information with Meta, the owner of Facebook. If so, it’s possible that class action lawsuits could be filed on behalf of consumers.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help?
- A class action lawsuit could help online ticket buyers recover up to $2,500 per violation and potentially force the movie theater chains to change their data privacy practices.
- What You Can Do
- If you’re a Facebook user who purchased a movie ticket on AMCTheatres.com, Harkins.com or BTMCinemas.com, fill out the form on this page to find out how you can help the investigation.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from anyone with a Facebook account who purchased movie tickets online from AMC Theatres, Harkins Theatres or Bow Tie Cinemas.
They’re investigating whether the movie theater chains violated a federal privacy law by using website tracking tools to collect and disclose online ticket buyers’ personal information to Meta without their consent.
Specifically, the attorneys are looking into whether AMCTheatres.com, Harkins.com and BTMCinemas.com are recording and sharing certain information – including the name of the movie, the name and location of the theater where the movie is playing, and the user’s Facebook ID, which can be used to match this data to their Facebook profile – when consumers use the sites to purchase movie tickets.
The attorneys now need to hear from more online ticket buyers as they work to determine whether class action lawsuits can be filed for potential privacy violations.
To find out more about the investigation and what you can do, fill out the form on this page.
How Could a Movie Theater Violate My Privacy?
It’s possible that certain movie theaters may be unlawfully gathering and sharing data about online ticket sales, including customers’ personal information, through various website tracking tools that operate behind the scenes.
One tool widely used by website operators, called a cookie, is a piece of code placed on a browser that can be used to store certain types of information. Cookies are used by Meta to identify users who log into Facebook.com and could potentially be used to track a specific user’s online activity across other websites through their unique Facebook ID, an identifier associated with the individual’s Facebook profile.
A pixel is another piece of code that can be used by a business to track certain actions that users take on its website and pass along that information to Meta. Attorneys are looking into whether the Facebook pixel may have been used on AMCTheatres.com, Harkins.com and BTMCinemas.com to track online ticket sales—specifically, the titles of movies for which users have purchased tickets and the names and locations of the theaters playing the movies.
Through tools such as cookies and pixels, it’s possible that movie theaters could be sharing enough information to identify specific users and the movies they plan to see, which could potentially violate the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).
What’s the Video Privacy Protection Act?
The Video Privacy Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits “video tape service providers” from disclosing personally identifiable information about their customers to third parties without permission.
In particular, the VPPA covers any information that identifies a person as having requested or received specific video materials or services from the provider.
It’s believed that data collected by movie theaters about their online customers may constitute video-related personal information and that the affected individuals must give their consent before that information is shared.
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
If filed and successful, a class action lawsuit could potentially give AMC, Harkins and Bow Tie customers a chance to recover up to $2,500 per violation. A lawsuit could also force the movie theater chains to change their data privacy practices.
What You Can Do
If you have a Facebook account and purchased a movie ticket on AMCTheatres.com, Harkins.com or BTMCinemas.com, fill out the form on this page.
After you get in touch, an attorney working with ClassAction.org may reach out to you directly to explain why you may be owed money and how you can help the investigation. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to an attorney about your rights, and you’re not obligated to take legal action.
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