Lee Enterprises Seeks To Kill Lawsuit Over Alleged Data Sharing With Facebook

Lee Enterprises has asked a U.S. court to toss a lawsuit filed by consumers late last year alleging that it shared personal information on readers with Facebook. 

The publisher has filed a motion to dismiss the case.  

The suit contends that Lee’s websites offer newsletters and other forms of content in exchange for personal information like names and mailing addresses, and that personally identifiable information is captured through tracking methods, according to the Missouri Independent. 

This data is handed to Facebook without consent, in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988, the suit charges. 

But Lee’s attorneys argue that, under the 1988 law, personal information “must be the type that would readily permit an ordinary person to identify a specific individual’s video-watching behavior, without the need to combine it with other information in the recipient’s possession,” the Independent continues. 



Lee also argues that the Facebook ID is non-identifying and would be meaningless to the average person.

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status, and are asking for an injunction that would require Lee to remove tracking tools and obtain subscriber consent for data sharing.

The Boston Globe recently agreed to settle a similar case for $5 million. 

A Californian named David Ambrose sued over “the Globe’s practice of hoovering up the identifying information of users who watch videos on its website and sending it to Facebook,” Media Nation writes. 

The settlement would include $4 million to pay subscribers from $22 to $44 apiece, and $1 million to extended subscriptions by one week, Media National reports. 

The Globe does not admit any wrongdoing.


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