October 2, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission slapped BetterHelp, with a $7.8 million fine over allegations that it shared sensitive health data over social media. The charges would prohibit the counseling platform from sharing similar data in the future.

The regulator claims that BetterHelp leveraged patients’ data, including health questionnaires and email addresses, for advertising on social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat.

BetterHelp had previously promised patients that “it would only use or disclose personal health data for limited purposes,” according to the FTC.

BetterHelp, which advertises itself as the world’s largest therapy service, provides its therapy services online as well by phone and via text. The company says it has served over 4 million users since its founding in 2013.

The fine also will be used to give some therapy users affected by the data breach partial refunds for what they paid the platform.

The Federal Trade Commission initially filed the case against BetterHealth in March after receiving 100 plus complaints by consumers. BetterHelp did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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