Apps are telling Facebook whether we’re ovulating, or skipping leg day

Due to existing software, some apps are stealing our personal data and handing it over to Facebook. Facebook, however, has assured us that nothing untoward is afoot.



This week, we’re all getting a snapshot into our mortal selves, with the app that shows how much time will ravage us. Despite the rumours that the app is collecting our data and sending it to Russia, but it’s all a bit of fun, y’know?

However, the problem is far larger than your future jowls, as The Wall Street Journal has noted that other app makers have been sharing our data with Facebook and not telling us.

According to the WSJ, a software tool exists that shares data with the social network to improve ad targeting. Yes, it seems nothing new, however, the manner of information that Zuckers apparently knows is privacy-violating, as the company apparently knows our ovulation cycles and whether we’ve been cheating on our diet. The report states that Flo Health and Azumio Inc (who happen to be the maker of the most popular third-party health rate tracker) use the tool, therefore giving Facebook our information, in order to better target us in the shopping areas.

In the case of Flo Health, The Verge notes, “Facebook is effectively matching information it collects from the software’s ovulation-tracking feature to real profiles, the Journal says, users it can then potentially label as a viable target for ads regarding expecting mothers and new parents.”

What isn’t clear, however, is whether any money is exchanging any hands when our data is involved. The WSJ reports that out of “the 70 apps it monitored, all of which were among the most popular apps on iOS, 11 of them shared such data with Facebook.”

None of them purportedly notify users about this data-sharing tool through either their privacy policies or the terms of their service. It gets worse, as this sharing is happening beyond the using methods (i.e. location sharing, voice or camera access), no-one is aware when these apps are sneakily fleecing our data.

According to Facebook (so heavily salt their claims), the company said that it advises the app makers to not share data we’d consider sensitive, be it health details, or financial logins. It also claims to not use the data outside of letting the app they collected to steer their ads. Which, thanks? Also, I don’t believe you, as we have no way to verify their claims. “We require app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us,” a Facebook spokeswoman told The Journal. In the terms of use for its software development kit, in which app events are included, Facebook says it may use the data collected to “improve other experiences on Facebook, including News Feed and Search content ranking capabilities.”

Yes, the words of public relations robots, great, but considering that we’re living in the same timeframe as Cambridge Analytica, and Zuckerberg facing Congress to say that they’re sorry (but not sorry) and facing the EU courts to say that they didn’t elect Trump through Russian bots, we’d be excused if we screw our faces up, not through the computer-enabled hands of time, but in suspicion.



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