Out of 34 reviewed apps, at least 21 were found sharing user data with the social media platform, Facebook. In the review conducted by Privacy International, a UK-based campaign group, it was revealed that these apps were sharing the data of individuals who don’t even have a Facebook account.
61% of these data-sharing apps include the popular TripAdvisor, MyFitnessPal, Spotify, Duolingo, Family Location GPS Tracker, Kayak, Muslim Pro, MyTalkingTom, and many others.
According to the report, these apps initiate the Facebook Software Development Kit (FDK) in the background as soon as the user installs the app. This step instantly transfers the apps which are in use by the individual along with information such as, device’s information, number of times a user opens the app, and the screen resolution.
These apps share data in a similar pattern as Google Advertising IDs, interests, genders, health, routines, religion, and behaviors of the user.
For instance, indeed (job search app) could guess the user as a job seeker, My Talking Tom (children’s app) relates to parent, etc. More threatening detail highlighted by the Daily Mail report is, the apps such as Kayak can share user’s traveling data including individual’s departure/arrival dates, city and airport names as well as the class of tickets.
In response to this review, Facebook presented its point-of-view. They told Privacy International in an email that, “Following the June change to our SDK, we also removed the signal that the SDK was initialized for developers that disabled automatic event logging.”
Also, there are reports of Facebook’s approach to implementing changes so that they can comply with the Privacy International’s privacy-related concern.