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Novant Health Facebook marketing campaign leads to data breach

The healthcare provider says personal information was disclosed to Facebook through a marketing campaign on the social media site.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Patients who may have had their personal information leaked have been contacted by Novant Health after they learned of a possible security breach.

On Thursday, Novant Health officials announced that they were alerting patients about a possible data breach that allowed information to be leaked to Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

The possible breach was discovered when Novant Health learned that a pixel used on the company's website in conjunction with a Facebook marketing campaign had the ability to transmit personal information about patients. A pixel is a piece of code that is used to track the activity on a website.

The marketing campaign was launched in March 2020 in an effort to connect more patients with Novant Health MyChart in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Novant Health officials learned of the data breach on July 17, 2022, and say they immediately disabled and removed the pixel. 

Some of the patient information that was possibly leaked to Meta includes: email address, phone number, computer IP address, appointment type, and date, physician selected, button/menu selections, and/or content typed into free text boxes.

Novant Health officials state Social Security numbers or other financial information was not shared unless it was typed into a free text box.

According to Novant Health, Meta did not act on any of the information obtained in the data breach.

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For anyone who may have had their Social Security numbers impacted by the breach, Novant Health is pledging to offer credit monitoring.

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For more information on the data breach, visit here.

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