Online counseling service BetterHelp has agreed to return $7.8 million to customers and is facing an FTC order to settle for sharing health data it had promised to keep private with companies including Facebook and Snapchat. The FTC has made it clear of its intent to crack down on the trafficking in sensitive health data by businesses not strictly classified as health care providers. BetterHelp provides online counseling, including services geared toward Christians, teens, and the LGBTQ community. During the signup process, customers were promised BetterHelp would not use or disclose their personal health data except for limited purposes such as to provide counseling. The company nevertheless revealed data including email and IP addresses and questionnaire information to Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for advertising purposes. Under the proposed order, BetterHelp will provide partial refunds for customers who used the service from Aug. 1, 2017 until the end of 2020.
The online counseling service BetterHelp has come under scrutiny for its practices of sharing personal health data with companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest. This has prompted the Federal Trade Commission to issue a proposed order that would return $7.8 million to consumers and limit how BetterHelp may share data in the future. BetterHelp provides an array of services for various demographics, but customers were promised that their personal health data would not be used or disclosed beyond providing counseling. The FTC has made it clear that it will prioritize defending Americans’ sensitive data from illegal exploitation, and has issued a similar order against GoodRx Holdings in February of 2021. Furthermore, the proposed order against BetterHelp requires them to provide refunds to customers who used the service from August 2017 to the end of 2020.
In conclusion, the proposed FTC order against BetterHelp serves as a reminder that the FTC will take action against companies that violate consumers’ data privacy. BetterHelp has agreed to return $7.8 million to customers and will be limited in the way it may share consumer data in the future. Furthermore, this enforcement action follows a similar one against GoodRx Holdings, and is part of the FTC’s mission to protect Americans’ sensitive data from exploitation.
• The FTC has issued a proposed order against BetterHelp requiring them to return $7.8 million to customers and limit how they may share data in the future.
• The proposed order follows a similar one against GoodRx Holdings in February 2021.
• BetterHelp provides services for various demographics and customers were promised that their personal health data would not be used or disclosed beyond providing counseling.
• BetterHelp will be required to provide refunds to customers who used the service from August 2017 to the end of 2020.