When Americans file their taxes online, it has been discovered by The Markup that tax filing websites like TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block are secretly transmitting sensitive financial information to Facebook via its widely used code known as a pixel that helps developers track user activity on their sites.
The program in question contained Meta pixel trackers, which were illegal because they sent Meta information such as names, email addresses, financial data, and return amounts.
Regardless of whether the person utilizing the tax filing service has an account on Facebook or another platform run by Meta, Facebook uses the data supplied to it by these websites to boost its advertising algorithms.
Users must submit personal data to TaxAct for their returns to be calculated, including their income and investment information.
Following that, a pixel on the TaxAct website relayed some of that data to Facebook, including the filing status, AGI, and the refund amount of the users.
Similar financial data, which did not include names, was also found to be sent by TaxAct to Google through its analytics service.
A pixel on the website of H&R Block collects information regarding the use of health savings accounts by filers as well as grants and costs associated with dependents’ college tuition.
Digging Into More Details
As part of Meta’s sophisticated matching system, which gathers information on website visitors to connect them to Facebook profiles, TaxSlayer allegedly transfers personal data to Facebook.
All of them were uncovered earlier this year by the Markup due to a project called Pixel Hunt with Mozilla Rally, in which participants installed a browser extension that emailed the team a copy of information provided by Meta via its pixel.