BetterHelp mental health app shares confidential data with Facebook
Professional therapy can be expensive. Fortunately, mental health apps can help without breaking the bank. But the last thing you want is for one of these apps to share your medical information with major social media networks.
Read on for details on a popular mental health app accused of sharing users’ data with Facebook and other platforms.
The BetterHelp app has been fined nearly $8 million
While some apps focus on meditation and breathing exercises, others can connect you with therapists or someone who will listen to you.
One of the most popular options is BetterHelp, which provides access to online mental health professionals. But what is usually considered a confidential conversation are secrets that can be shared.
It was recently discovered that BetterHelp sent users’ health data to social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat for targeted advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now stepping in and proposing a ban on the sharing of mental health data. It also recommends that BetterHelp pay $7.8 million to affected users.
“When a person struggling with mental health issues seeks help, they do so in a moment of vulnerability and with the expectation that professional counseling services will protect their privacy,” explains Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Office of Consumer Protection.
According to the FTC, BetterHelp offers a variety of services, such as Faithful Counseling, which focuses on Christians, Teen Counseling, and Pride Counseling, which targets the LGBTQ community.
In many cases, users are required to provide their name, email address and date of birth and pay between $60 and $90 per week for counseling.
Stay tuned for more ways to file a lawsuit against BetterHelp
The FTC’s proposed actions against BetterHelp must be approved by commissioners after public comment. They will probably pass, as the commissioners voted 4-0 in the first round in favor of the penalties.
Once the formalities are completed, the FTC will release the details of the filing of the lawsuit against BetterHelp, if applicable. The only details we know so far are that it includes users who signed up and paid for BetterHelp’s services between August 1, 2017 and December 31, 2020.
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