Popular tax preparation software has submitted financial information to Meta: report
Meta (formerly Facebook) corporate headquarters on November 9, 2022 in Menlo Park, California.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
Popular tax preparation software including Tax actTaxSlayer and H&R blog sent confidential financial information to Facebook’s parent company Meta through a common code called a pixel that helps developers track user activity on their sites Marking found.
In a report published by The Verge on Tuesday, the outlet revealed that the software sent information such as names, email addresses, income information and refund amounts to Meta. Tagging discovered the data trail earlier this year with Mozilla Rally through a project called “Pixel Hunt,” where participants installed a browser extension that sent a pixel copy of the data shared with Meta to the group.
“Advertisers should not send sensitive information about people through our business tools,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC. “Such behavior is against our policy, and we train advertisers to properly set up Business Tools to prevent it. Our system is designed to filter out potentially sensitive data we can detect.”
Meta considers potentially sensitive information, including information about income, loan amount and debt status.
The designation also found that TaxAct submitted similar financial information Google through the analytics tool, but this data does not contain names.
“Any data in Google Analytics is anonymized, meaning it is not tied to an individual, and our policies prohibit customers from sending us data that could be used to identify a user,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC. “Furthermore, Google has a strict policy against advertising to people based on sensitive information.”
Representatives for Tax Preparation Services did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Read the full report here The Verge.
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