STAT October 13, 2021
Facebook and other social media companies have accurate information about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of millions of individuals. What these companies know is often more than what user’s therapists know.
If therapists and other health care professionals must guard what they know about a patient’s mental health as protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Facebook and other social media companies should, too.
Under HIPAA, protected health information includes information that is “recorded in any form or medium” that “relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual.” Applying this law to Facebook would ensure that the user’s health information the company possesses is protected with the...