many of Tax preparation services Sensitive financial information has been found to be sent to the Meta, including people’s income, enrollment status, and even amounts received in college scholarships.
The information comes via a file Investigative report from The Markup (Opens in a new tab)And the which alleges that the implementation of the Meta Pixel in tax filing services has resulted in unintentional data collection on the part of Meta.
Google was also implicated in the report, but this situation seems less serious. A Google spokesperson says the data collected is all mixed and cannot be linked to a specific person.
After looking at the report and the various statements that were made, there are a lot of conflicting messages coming from the companies. Actions do not correspond to data.
according to Meta help center page (Opens in a new tab), the tech giant is blocking other companies from sending out financial data; However, information about people’s income is still being received. Tax filing services gave users “the option to decline to share tax information,” but that didn’t matter because, again, data is still being sent and received.
Several spokespeople said that the tax filing services they represent don’t know that the Meta Pixel is sending out so much information.
Now, however, many companies are changing how they use code. TaxAct, one of the services mentioned, will no longer transmit financial details to the Meta but will still send the names of dependents. TaxSlayer and Ramsey Solutions have both removed the code from their websites. Others, like H&R Block, will continue to send you information about “health savings accounts and college scholarships.”
Markup calls into question these services’ claims that they didn’t know Meta Pixel was sending all this data. The report notes that there is evidence to suggest that TaxAct intentionally configured the Pixel code to send certain dollar amounts as “parameters to custom event (Opens in a new tab)And theallowing them to be tracked. We have reached out to the tax code and asked if they would like to make a statement about The Markup claim. This story will be updated if we hear back.
At this time, there is no indication that any of the information collected was misused. It is also not known if any of the companies involved will face any kind of punishment. According to The Markup, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has so far declined to comment on the situation.
in trouble again
This isn’t the first time Meta Pixel has run into trouble for its parent company or other companies. The tech giant is currently facing Multiple lawsuits from across the United States (Opens in a new tab) Through Pixel code that is allegedly used to collect people’s health data and serve them targeted advertising. One complaint comes from Illinois where Meta and Advocate accuses Aurora of “intercepting, accessing, and disclosing patient health information…”
We also asked Meta if it had a statement about The Markup report and if there are plans to change the Pixel icon given the recent controversy. Again, we’ll update this story if we hear back.
Be sure to check out TechRadar’s guide What to do if your tax information is stolen. Although nothing harmful has been reported, it never hurts to be careful.