New Territory for Meta Pixel Privacy Class Actions

Published: Apr. 03, 2023

A recent class action filed in Pennsylvania federal court may signal the next round of class actions relating to websites’ use of the Meta Pixel. Since February 2022, there have been over 100 suits brought under the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) based on use of the Meta Pixel by websites that include video content. But a recent suit filed in Pennsylvania federal court against Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops asserts Meta Pixel related claims based on non-video content. 

Specifically, Irvin v. Cabela’s alleges that the companies’ use of the pixel on their websites constitutes illegal wiretapping under the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Surveillance Control Act (“WESCA”), as well as violates the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act. According to the complaint, plaintiff purchased firearms through the companies’ websites, both of which incorporate the Meta Pixel. Plaintiff alleges that because of the presence of the Meta Pixel on the websites, when he made those purchases (or took other actions on the website) certain event data was transmitted to Meta. This includes the URLs of the specific pages he viewed, the buttons he clicked on those pages, and the type of gun he purchased, along with his Facebook ID which he alleges can be used to identify him. In addition, plaintiff alleges that Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops’ used Meta’s Advanced Matching feature, which supposedly enables the Pixel to scan form fields that potentially contain the user’s personal information such as name, email address, city, and state.

Given the use of the Meta Pixel on many websites, similar class actions are a near certainty. As mentioned in our previous blog about separate lawsuits brought under WESCA concerning websites’ use of session replay technology, businesses subject to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania will want to review their use of pixels and other tracking technologies, as well as their disclosures surrounding such uses.