Period Tracker Apps Used By Millions Of Women Are Sharing Incredibly Sensitive Data With Facebook
Data including when women last had sex was sent to Facebook and other third-party services, according to new research shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on September 9, 2019, at 12:03 p.m. ET
Period tracker apps are sending deeply personal information about women’s health and sexual practices to Facebook, new research has found.
UK-based advocacy group Privacy International, sharing its findings exclusively with BuzzFeed News, discovered period-tracking apps including MIA Fem and Maya sent women’s use of contraception, the timings of their monthly periods, symptoms like swelling and cramps, and more, directly to Facebook.
Women use such apps for a range of purposes, from tracking their period cycles to maximizing their chances of conceiving a child. On the Google Play store, Maya, owned by India-based Plackal Tech, has more than 5 million downloads. Period Tracker MIA Fem: Ovulation Calculator, owned by Cyprus-based Mobapp Development Limited, says it has more than 2 million users around the world. They are also available on the App Store.
The data sharing with Facebook happens via Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK), which helps app developers incorporate particular features and collect user data so Facebook can show them targeted ads, among other functions. When a user puts personal information into an app, that information may also be sent by the SDK to Facebook.
Asked about the report, Facebook told BuzzFeed News it had gotten in touch with the apps Privacy International identified to discuss possible violations of its terms of service, including sending prohibited types of sensitive information.
Privacy International found.
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