TWIFT | Lifestyle | Sex lives of app users’ shared with Facebook

Sex lives of app users’ shared with Facebook

Sex lives of app users’ shared with Facebook

Another day, another drama. This time while Facebook is involved, the real antagonists turned out to be period tracking apps that shared with Facebook so much of users’ private data.

Privacy International has taken a closer look at various period-tracking apps to find out if they can keep a secret, and if not, what kind of information they share with Facebook.

They spill the beans. Oh, they do let the social media know what’s happening in your private life, including what contraception was used, when periods were due and the type of symptoms experienced.

facebook own your personal information

Since it was uncovered, one of the apps has pointed out it is changing its privacy policies.

Period apps are not only about when to expect the next bloody shower. Among the info ladies share with them, is data regarding general health, information about sex, moods, what the user eats, drinks, and even what sanitary products she uses. Everything that can influence a woman’s cycle. And based on the received info, the app can offer the best dates to plan pregnancy, when to expect next ovulation or period.

And Facebook received all that info. Like damn, it knows more about us than we about ourselves, I swear. 

The social network got access to the information when companies included Facebook software development kit (SDK) into their apps. The SDK is used for monetizing apps by showing users personalized ads provided by Facebook.

According to PI investigation, the most popular apps in this category — Period Tracker, Period Track Flo, and Clue Period Tracker stayed away from it all and 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) – put their foot in it.

PI commented: “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.”

One of the offenders, the Maya app, immediately started improving the situation and removed both the Facebook core SDK and Analytics SDK from Maya.

facebook own your personal information

It still plans to continue working with Facebook ads if the user agrees to its terms and conditions and privacy policy but added that no “personally identifiable data or medical data” is shared. “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”.

It commented on the fact that users are made aware and warned of its Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy before signing up on Maya. If the customer discontinues using the app, they can export their data and delete their account whenever they choose to.

Facebook commented that its terms of service prohibit developers from sending it sensitive health information and “we enforce against them when we learn they are.” (Pff, yeah, sure. Like we don’t know they hunt for such info.)

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

Another serious question here raised is GDPR. Like, how these apps can be compliant with it? There is some breach in the regulations or the apps ignore it altogether. 

“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.

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