Women health-focussed app Maya has shared sensitive data about the menstrual, emotional and sexual health of its users with Facebook, according to a report published by advocacy group Privacy International.
However, through period tracking apps, your ovulation cycle, your use of contraception, the timing of your monthly periods, your symptoms such as swelling and cramps, your sexual practices and other information normally keyed into these apps is compromised in order to refine the tracking process.
Privacy International previously surveyed some of the most popular apps overall and found that 61 percent shared personal information with Facebook for ad targeting.
Menstruation apps collect some of the most intimate data imaginable - from general health, to information about sex, moods, what the user eats, drinks and even what sanitary products she uses. These articles, tailored to user interest, are also shared with Facebook.
Privacy International found that some apps were sharing this data with Facebook - and in the wake of the investigation, at least one has changed its policies.
The data these apps share goes beyond the dates and times of your period.
Obviously, periods can be particularly sensitive things for some women who would rather keep the in and outs of their menstrual cycles to themselves, but the research shows the apps also revealed when users' last had sex and when a user was at her most fertile.
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Interval- and pregnancy-monitoring apps similar to Maya and MIA possess climbed in standing as enjoyable, fine companions that offer insights into the in most cases daunting world of fertility and pregnancy.
The sharing passed off by means of Fb's Software program Growth Package (SDK), a set of instruments that allow app makers construct options and share advertisements.
Facebook might know a whole lot about you if you use one of these period-tracking apps.
"We have systems in place to detect and delete certain types of data such as Social Security Numbers, passwords, and other personal data, such as email or phone number", a Facebook spokesperson told Buzzfeed. Previously this year, the Wall Street Journal reported the period-tracking app Flo had also shared private user health data with Facebook, though the app wasn't mentioned in this recent report.
Facebook stated that it communicated with those apps highlighted by the Privacy International to discuss the possible violations of the social media giant's terms of service. It continues to look for many ways to improve its system to filter out other types of sensitive data.
Deborah Peel, a psychiatrist and founder of the nonprofit Patient Privacy Rights, said people expect that their health data will be protected by the same laws that protect their health information in a doctors office, but many apps aren't subject to the same rules.