Sex lives of app users ‘shared with Facebook’

Sex lives of app users ‘shared with Facebook’

Sex lives of app users ‘shared with Facebook’

Comments Off on Sex lives of app users ‘shared with Facebook’

Woman with calendar

Intimate data, including when people have had sex, is being shared with Facebook, a study from Privacy International has suggested.

PI studied a range of period-tracking apps to see exactly what information was shared with the social network.

It included details such as what contraception was used, when periods were due and the type of symptoms experienced.

Since the investigation, one app said it was changing its privacy policies.

Menstruation apps collect some of the most intimate data imaginable – from general health, to information about sex, moods, what the user eats, drinks and even what sanitary products she uses.

In exchange for this, the app will offer the user the dates of the month she is most fertile or when to expect her next period.

Sample of what Facebook is sent from a period tracking appImage copyrightPI
Image captionPI published what it says Facebook sees – “Purpose: Get Pregnant” would provide invaluable insights to advertisers

Sharing to Facebook happens via the social network’s software development kit (SDK), tools that can be used by apps to help them make money by reaching advertisers who, in turn, provide users with personalised ads.

PI found the most popular apps in this category – Period Tracker, Period Track Flo and Clue Period Tracker did not share data with Facebook.

But others – such as Maya by Plackal Tech (which has 5 million downloads on Google Play), MIA by Mobapp Development Limited (1 million downloads) and My Period Tracker by Linchpin Health (more than 1 million downloads) – did.

PI said: “The wide reach of the apps that our research has looked at might mean that intimate details of the private lives of millions of users across the world are shared with Facebook and other third parties without those users’ free unambiguous and informed or explicit consent, in the case of sensitive personal data, such as data relating to a user’s health or sex life.”

On being shown the study, Maya told PI that it had “removed both the Facebook core SDK and Analytics SDK from Maya” with the changes coming into effect almost immediately.

It said it would continue to use Facebook Ad SDK for those who had agreed to its terms and conditions and privacy policy, but added that no “personally identifiable data or medical data” is shared.

In a statement to the BBC it added: “All data accessed by Maya are essential to the proper functioning of the product. Predicting information pertaining to menstrual cycles is complex and dependent on thousands of variables.

“Our users are made aware of our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy prior to signing up on Maya. Post sign up, our users can export their data and delete their account whenever they choose to.”

Linchpin Health did not respond to PI and MIA said it did not wish its response to be published.

Facebook told the BBC: “Our terms of service prohibit developers from sending us sensitive health information and we enforce against them when we learn they are.

“In addition, ad targeting based on people’s interests does not leverage information gleaned from people’s activity across other apps or websites.”

Screen grab of data chart from PIImage copyrightPI
Image captionThe Maya app encourages users to enter their mood and this is then shared with Facebook, in this case “Anxious”

The BBC has contacted both companies but at the time of publishing had not received responses.

PI believes its findings raise serious concerns as to how such apps are compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

“The responsibility should be on the companies to comply with their legal obligations and live up to the trust that users have placed in them when deciding to use their service,” PI concluded.

Facebook has announced it will launch a tool for users to stop apps and businesses sharing their data with the social network.

[“source=bbc”]

Lili

Related Posts

Is Facebook really that bad? A conversation with Roger McNamee and Antonio Garcia Martinez

Comments Off on Is Facebook really that bad? A conversation with Roger McNamee and Antonio Garcia Martinez

Facebook begins telling users who try to share distorted Nancy Pelosi video that it’s fake

Comments Off on Facebook begins telling users who try to share distorted Nancy Pelosi video that it’s fake

Facebook may combine your News Feed and Stories into one carousel

Comments Off on Facebook may combine your News Feed and Stories into one carousel

Facebook agrees to pay $5bn in vast privacy settlement, insiders say

Comments Off on Facebook agrees to pay $5bn in vast privacy settlement, insiders say

Why so many companies bailed on Facebook’s Libra project at once

Comments Off on Why so many companies bailed on Facebook’s Libra project at once

Facebook still full of groups trading fake reviews, says consumer group

Comments Off on Facebook still full of groups trading fake reviews, says consumer group

The FTC is reportedly divided about how to hold Facebook accountable for privacy lapses

Comments Off on The FTC is reportedly divided about how to hold Facebook accountable for privacy lapses

How Facebook fights fake news in the world’s largest election

Comments Off on How Facebook fights fake news in the world’s largest election

Facebook will increase pay for its contractors in North America

Comments Off on Facebook will increase pay for its contractors in North America

2018 is coming to end so why are we not dating on Facebook, where is Facebook Dating?

Comments Off on 2018 is coming to end so why are we not dating on Facebook, where is Facebook Dating?

Stop Falling For This Facebook Scam

Comments Off on Stop Falling For This Facebook Scam

Facebook’s new Stories feature for event sharing actually sounds useful

Comments Off on Facebook’s new Stories feature for event sharing actually sounds useful

Create Account



Log In Your Account