AMC Faces Class Action Complaint for Sharing Viewing Information to Facebook

On Thursday, Daineira Mangum filed a class action complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against AMC Networks, Inc. alleging violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). 

The complaint states that the VPPA was initially passed in 1988 to protect the privacy of individuals’ and their families’ video rental, purchase and viewing data. Further, it states that VPPA was passed to protect with the belief that such viewing information “reveal our likes and dislikes, our interests and our whims” and is essential to an individual’s right to privacy.

Recently, several other corporations have been targeted under the VPPA or similar state laws including Apple, Bloomberg News, Patreon, HGTV and Amazon.

In the present complaint, the plaintiff alleges that AMC has a practice of knowingly disclosing personally identifiable information and viewing information to Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company to Facebook. The plaintiff alleges that AMC collected and shared information through its video media provider Shudder. 

Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant installed Facebook’s tracking pixel code on Shudder allowing it to invisibly collect users information when digital subscribers enter the streaming service or its accompanying app to view content.

Additionally, the complaint states that Shudder then tracks and discloses to Facebook the digital subscriber’s viewed video media and their Facebook ID. Further, the complaint purports that this occurs even when the digital subscriber has not shared or consented to share such information and the defendant in turn profits from providing the information to Facebook. 

The plaintiff argues that AMC chose to disregard her and hundreds of thousands of other Shudder digital subscribers’ statutorily protected privacy rights by releasing their sensitive data to Facebook. Accordingly, the plaintiff brought the present suit on behalf of herself, who has been a Shudder digital subscriber since 2021, and all other digital subscribers to Shudder who had their personal viewing information disclosed to Facebook by AMC. 

The complaint alleges a single cause of action, violation of the VPPA, and seeks class certification, declaratory and injunctive relief, punitive damages, restitution, $2,500 for each class member in accordance with the VPPA, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise and Bailey & Glasser LLP.