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Facebook has been covertly collecting deeply personal information from a number of popular apps, often without users' knowledge.
At least 11 popular apps have been sending the data to Facebook, including period-tracking app Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, real estate app Realtor, and Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, a Wall Street Journal investigation found.
Apps - Data - Things - Users - Weight
The apps collected highly sensitive data, which ranged from things like users' average weight and height to their blood pressure, ovulation cycles and pregnancy status.
In some cases, the 'highly sensitive information' is sent to Facebook mere seconds after it's entered into the app - even if the user doesn't have an account on the social media network, according to the Journal.
Facebook - Data - Result - Software - Development
Facebook can collect the data as a result of its Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of open source software tools that can be used by developers to create apps.
Apps use Facebook's SDK to build their software and, in exchange, Facebook often gets access to data those apps collect, for the purpose of targeting ads.
Litany - Privacy - Scandals - Facebook - Users
It marks the latest in a litany of recent privacy scandals for Facebook, which have cratered its two billion-plus users' trust in the site and raised questions over the need for regulators to rein in the social media giant.
The Wall Street Journal tested more than 70 apps and found that at least 11 apps sent highly sensitive information to Facebook.
Apps - Users - Data - Facebook
The apps often fail to alert users that the data is being shared with Facebook.
While users can control how apps collect data from their device, such as location, contacts or cookies, they have no way of stopping them from sharing sensitive data recorded in the apps with third parties such as Facebook.
Investigation - Journal - Software - Internet - Communications
For the investigation, the Journal used software to monitor the internet communications transmitted by the...
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