A proposed class action alleges GameStop has failed to obtain consent from consumers who buy video games on its website before sharing their personal information with Facebook.
The 25-page lawsuit alleges that the video game retailer has embedded tracking software on gamestop.com that collects visitors’ information, including the titles of video games they purchase.
Per the suit, the combination of this data and a website visitor’s Facebook ID—a unique identifier that allows a Facebook profile to be easily located—allows Facebook or any ordinary person to identify which video games a consumer has purchased.
The case alleges that GameStop’s disclosure of shoppers’ data to an unrelated third party is a violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits “video tape service providers” from divulging personally identifiable information, including the specific video materials a person has requested or obtained, without consent.
According to the suit, GameStop collects buyers’ information through a Facebook tracking pixel embedded on its website. The pixel, the lawsuit explains, is a piece of code through which advertisers such as GameStop can gather certain information about the consumers who visit their website and what actions they take—and then use that data to better target users with advertisements.
When an individual visits GameStop’s website, the pixel collects certain “event” data, such as which video games they’ve searched for, added to their cart and purchased, and reports the information to Facebook. Along with this data, GameStop also shares with the social media giant the user’s Facebook ID, a unique identifier that corresponds with the person’s Facebook profile, the suit relays.
According to the suit, the information GameStop discloses to Facebook is sufficient to identify a person and link them to the video games they’ve bought, even if they check out as a “guest” on GameStop’s website.
The case alleges that GameStop uses its customer lists—which contain consumers’ email addresses and purchase information—and matches the data with activity tracked on gamestop.com in order to “effectively target subscribers” with ads. The lawsuit alleges, however, that gamestop.com users never provided the company with “any form of consent” to share their personally identifiable information with Facebook.
The case looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased a video game from GameStop.
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