Redfin, Zillow named in video privacy lawsuits


Redfin and Zillow are at the center of two video privacy suits that were filed on June 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

In two separate lawsuits, plaintiff Guillermo Mata accuses the real estate companies of violating the Video Privacy Protection Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act by allegedly sending consumers’ personally identifiable data — including names and email addresses — to third-party firms such as Facebook parent Meta and Google parent Alphabet after they viewed agent-created video home tours.

The suit against Zillow lists “Reddit, Inc., Meta Platforms, Inc. (‘Meta’), Microsoft Corporation, Alphabet, Inc., and Snap, Inc. (Snapchat),” as alleged recipients of this data, while the Redfin suit also names Oracle Corp. as a third-party recipient of user data.

According to the complaints, Mata was registered for consumer accounts on both Redfin.com and Zillow.com.

In the complaints, attorneys for Mata claim that the “Defendant uses third-party code to track prerecorded videos its subscribers watch and sends that data to its third-party code vendors along with subscribers’ [personal information], all without its subscribers’ valid consent.”

“Defendant programmed such third-party tracking technology into its website for advertising purposes and to increase its profits,” the complaints add. “Defendant knew that such tracking technology would transmit site visitors’ activity, including records of which video tours they have watched, as the entire purpose of implementing such technology is so that Defendant can target advertisements or send marketing emails through the technology’s third-party providers.”

According to Mata and his attorneys, both firms “knowingly deployed third-party tracking pixels and other third-party tracking technologies” on their websites.

The complaint against Redfin also highlights a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February 2024, in which Redfin acknowledges that it may be liable for using pixel technology.

“We use evolving tools and technology, such as pixels, in the operation of our websites. We are from time to time involved in, and may in the future be subject to, enforcement actions and private third-party claims arising from the laws to which we are subject,” the filing states. “This includes third party claims relying on older legislation as the basis for allegations of consumer data privacy violations against companies using new technology.

“Companies using tracking technology, including Redfin, have been the subjects of recent data privacy lawsuits brought by third-parties alleging that the use of this modern technology violates consumer privacy as defined by older laws. Many of these lawsuits have not been fully litigated, or have settled, resulting in a current state of uncertainty in the law. In addition, many cyber carriers are reconsidering how, and if, to cover losses related to pixel based claims. Our use of such technology could subject us to expensive litigation, and to greater loss exposure due to insurance limits,” the filing continues.

Both lawsuits are seeking class-action status. The classes for the Zillow suit are defined as “All persons in the United States with a Zillow account and who requested or viewed a video walkthrough tour on or through Zillow.com during the applicable limitations period,” and “all persons in California with a Zillow account and who requested or viewed a video walkthrough tour on or through Zillow.com during the applicable limitations period.”

The class definitions for the Redfin suit are similar, and are divided into all persons in the U.S. or in California “with a My Redfin account and who requested or viewed a guided video tour on or through Redfin.com during the applicable limitations period.”

Additionally, Mata is seeking orders that would ban Zillow and Redfin from “further unauthorized disclosure of consumers’ [data],” punitive damages, statutory damages, and compensation for attorneys fees and costs.

Zillow and Redfin did not return HousingWire’s requests for comment.



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