H&R Block, other tax prep services sending 'sensitive financial information' to Facebook: Report

Information has reportedly included income, filing status, refund amounts.

Published: November 22, 2022 11:09am

Updated: November 22, 2022 12:08pm

Major tax preparation services have reportedly been sending sensitive personal financial information to Facebook as part of a potential advertising scheme, according to a report released Tuesday. 

Companies such as H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer have allegedly been sending Facebook "not only information like names and email addresses but often even more detailed information, including data on users’ income, filing status, refund amounts, and dependents’ college scholarship amounts," a report from the Verge said on Tuesday.

The information "can be used by the company to power its advertising algorithms," the outlet claimed, and it is "gathered regardless of whether the person using the tax filing service has an account on Facebook or other platforms operated by its owner Meta."

The information was reportedly gathered using Meta Pixel, a Facebook code that the company describes as "a snippet of JavaScript code that allows you to track visitor activity on your website."

Several of the companies contacted by the Verge said they would review the data-gathering process for privacy violations. A spokesman for Facebook parent company Meta, meanwhile, told the Verge that advertisers "should not send sensitive information about people through our Business Tools.”

“Doing so is against our policies and we educate advertisers on properly setting up Business tools to prevent this from occurring," the spokesman said. "Our system is designed to filter out potentially sensitive data it is able to detect.”

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