META’s Response to Concerns Raised by Senators Warren, Booker and Wyden on Mental Health Apps
On June 22, 2022, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to the CEOs of Talkspace and Betterhelp stating concerns about the use of data collected by their mental health apps and shared with third-parties.
Specifically, the lawmakers said, “We have long been concerned about the misuse of personal data by Big Tech companies and unscrupulous data brokers, especially for the purpose of microtargeting vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, it appears possible that the policies used by your company and similar mental health platforms allow third-party Big Tech firms and data brokers, who have shown remarkably little interest in protecting vulnerable consumers and users, to access and use highly confidential personal and medical information.”
Additional reporting and summaries are here:
While this is not an accusation or finding of wrongdoing by any of the companies or the sector itself, and although META has not received an inquiry letter from these Senators, META wants to highlight its privacy and data protection policies clearly for our providers and clients who are a key part of our entire effort to solve the issues related to mental health access and support for our users.
META is committed to data security and privacy as follows:
- META will never sell or share its user data at any time with any one for any reason other than those specifically authorized by the user or allowed or required under law to protect a user;
- META does not share any anonymized or specific individual data with any analytics or Big Data companies to understand user behaviors, their locations, services chosen, providers seen, or similar information;
- META does not share any chat or text messages between users and providers with any 3rd party, for any reason;
META is focused on service – to connect users to mental health providers in an easy, confidential and secure manner.
META does not charge its users any fees; or its providers a fee or take any commissions from providers.
META is a marketplace platform and provides an access point between users seeking mental wellness services and providers. META is sponsored by either employers or educational institutions to provide a marketplace platform to its employees and families or students.