Published: Thu, September 19, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

These Period Tracker Apps Are Sharing Your Private Information With Facebook

These Period Tracker Apps Are Sharing Your Private Information With Facebook

New research from UK-based advocacy group Privacy International uncovered that some period-tracking apps were sharing sensitive data with Facebook.

However, there are several other periods tracking apps, which integrate Facebook's Software Developer Kit (SDK) and are sharing the user's most personal information to Facebook, its ad network, and third-party analytics companies.

Not only is the passing on of such sensitive data a no-no given period-tracker apps can also determine a user's mood, but that data could also then be used by advertisers on Facebook to target specific product and service at users, which is another slap in the face of online privacy. "Version 3.6.7.7 with these changes is live on the Google Play Store and will be submitted for review to the Apple App Store by this weekend".

Privacy International contacted Maya about the Facebook sharing issue ahead of the release of their report, leading the company to resolve the privacy problems.

Facebook, the sector's greatest social media platform, with 1.2 billion day-to-day customers, is asking customers to have faith it with extra and additional sensitive data than at any time within the past. This includes their period schedules, ovulation cycles, use of contraception and more.

Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said advertisers did not have access to the sensitive health information shared by these apps.

It is common knowledge that few people actually read and understand the complex, long-winded "terms and conditions" that are shown to users as they install apps.

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A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed the company requires app developers to be clear with users about what data they're gathering, and have a "lawful basis" for gathering it.

The researchers also examined some of the other popular period-tracking apps such as Period Tracker by Leap Fitness Group, Period Tracker Flo by Flo Health, Period Tracker by Simple Design and Clue Period Tracker by Biowink.

Facebook also said that though it has techniques in place to mechanically detect and delete info like Social Security Figures and passwords from the details shared by apps, the firm is "looking at methods to strengthen our system/items to detect and filter out additional kinds of most likely delicate details".

Period- and pregnancy-tracking apps such as Maya and MIA have climbed in popularity as fun, friendly companions that provide insights into the often daunting world of fertility and pregnancy.

Amid the news, Facebook revealed it had gotten in touch with the apps Privacy International to discuss possible violations of its terms of service, including sending prohibited sensitive information. "In addition, ad targeting based on people's interests does not leverage information gleaned from people's activity across other apps or websites".

Maya's parent company Plackal Tech told Buzzfeed that the SDK allows the company to earn revenue by presenting ads that users can opt-out of if the user subscribes to the app's premium subscription.

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