Can Social Media Apps (Twitter, Facebook, Etc.) Access Data from Other Apps?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by birch301, Jun 2, 2016.

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  1. birch301 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 2, 2016
    #1
    I recently discovered the "ad tracking" feature which was implemented in one of the previous iOS updates. Initially, I was under the impression that this feature only functioned within each individual app (for example, "promoted tweets" on Twitter pertain to who or what a user follows, likes, or retweets). However, as I researched further, several sources claimed that apps such as Facebook and Twitter could view and record actions on other apps (such as search results, recently viewed pages, and interests that were not explicitly stated by the user on social media) in order to gather data on individual users and streamline advertising. Specifically, I read that so long as there is a Twitter or Facebook button embedded on a web page, the two respective apps could receive data from the site the user is visiting even if the user chose not to link said site to social media.

    In summary, my questions boil down to this:

    1) Do Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps track my actions on other apps/browsers?
    2) If so, is the data collected associated directly with my social media accounts (as in my username is directly paired with the data) or is it done anonymously?
    3) Does hitting "Reset Advertising Identifier" in my iPhone settings clear all data gathered for the sake of personalized advertisements, or is the data still associated with my social media accounts?

    Any and all help is appreciated, the idea that social media apps can clandestinely gather data from other apps and search engines on my iPhone is off-putting.
     
  2. bufffilm, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016

    bufffilm macrumors 68040

    bufffilm

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    May 3, 2011
    #2
    So then remove said apps from your phone...problem solved!
     
  3. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    Oregon
    #3
    If you're this worried about privacy, you probably shouldn't be using Facebook or Twitter.
     
  4. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
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    #4
    They are supposed to be sandboxed and shouldn't be able to access information unless you've given them consent. If you aren't sure, go to: Settings>Privacy

    Go through and see which apps you've given permission to access various information.

    Again, if you are sincerely concerned about privacy, don't install those apps on your phone. I made the "trade-off" a while back to just use the Facebook mobile site instead of the app. A slight inconvenience for much less intrusiveness.
     
  5. stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #5
    image.jpeg Facebook is very sneaky and evil. They now pay many manufacturers to have Facebook Preinstalled on pretty much all new smartphones with no uninstall option. The only option that comes on there is a disable option with is useless as Facebook permissions allow Facebook to toggle on/off to pretty much what ever they need. All new HTC,Samsung,LG, and Sony have Facebook Preinstalled in them with no uninstall option. Wonder why..?

    Here is the crazy part on the iPhone. Brand new iPhone or iPad with no Facebook ever being installed on there. No apps and no visits to Facebook website ever. No Facebook login Either for any other websites. No Facebook enabled on iPhone either but yet you go to your Safari website history to browse at cookies and cache and you will see Facebook.net and Facebook.com
    No matter how many times your clear your browser and cookies when you open it back up you see Facebook.net and Facebook.com on there.

    It is pretty much a background spy app

    Now they want access to all photos too.

    http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2016...-synced-photos-dont-install-another-one-apps/
     
  6. bufffilm, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016

    bufffilm macrumors 68040

    bufffilm

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    May 3, 2011
    #6
    I wasn't being facetious when I said to remove Facebook, Twitter, and related apps...I was dead serious.

    The software they load on your phone makes the phone slower (even if it's a well behaved background app), the data they track or mine and send back home is none of their business (it's mine), and why should they benefit or profit from having it.

    People blithely install apps on their devices and then wonder later how such and such information got into their hands or why their phone is slower now.

    Too many people put crap on their devices. It's the truth.
     
  7. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    #7
    From what I can tell, even with the FB as restricted as I can possibly get it via restrictions, I notice it manages to feed me targeted subjects on my newsfeed based on my limited web use on the iPhone. It's less so on my SE than it was on my 6SLus because I now use the more resource and battery friendly Friendly App instead of the FB app except when I want to load more than three photos per post.

    I never put the FB app on my iPad where I do the bulk of my online shopping and forum usage.

    I am intrigued by Android devices but will likely never use them because they are so open in granting permissions to apps like FB without my knowledge or ability to control.
     
  8. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #8
    Don't see any Facebook.com or .net in cache/cookies for Safari on my iPhone. I can also easily control what things Facebook can or can't access on my device.
     
  9. stylinexpat, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016

    stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    That is weird.. General,Safari,Website Data
    No matter how many times I clear or remove Data it pops back in.

    image.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  10. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #10
    Not sure what those screenshots show in relation to Safari data.
     
  11. stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #11
    Where to look and then what you see inside is here below
    image.png
     
  12. bufffilm macrumors 68040

    bufffilm

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    May 3, 2011
    #12
    But they show 0 bytes i.e. no data being captured.

    Can you show a case where actual data is non-zero?
     
  13. stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #13
    Do you believe the zero though? How can it even run or try to run if nothing is installed and you never visited their site??
     
  14. bufffilm macrumors 68040

    bufffilm

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    May 3, 2011
    #14
    The issue is whether data is actually collected and sent back.

    As long as that shows zero, then Apple permissions is doing its job. I'm hardly going to lose sleep each night, otherwise.
     
  15. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #15
    Well, this screenshot shows something related to what you were mentioning. The previous ones didn't seem to have any of that (which is what prompted my question).
     
  16. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #16
    Hundred different ways that can get there. I don't have Facebook.com in my website data and I use Facebook a couple times a week. But it could be from webkit basically accessing the web from another app to an email (loading images from FB) and everything in between.

    This is how conspiracy theories start. Someone isn't educated in a subject so they jump to conclusions then feed that information to other people that aren't educated in that subject.

    .....

    OP:

    1: Yes and No. They track your devices actions not yours however an individual app can track your actions. The device information is shared via ad identifiers to other apps but it can't carry information pertaining to you as an individual.

    2: Anonymously shared kind of. Keep in mind an app knows what you are doing though internally. So if you always talking about something then that app can store some sort of profile for you on their servers. I say kind of because how many people share phones? But keep in mind the data is generic in this circumstance.

    3: It just resets that generic ad data. But don't be naive either, these identifiers can know a lot of creepy stuff about you.

    I had a friend once get a targeted ad on a porn page that said "Thousands of Asian girls looking for single white twenty year old smokers in (my...erhmm HIS town)..
     
  17. Kobbr macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2016
    #17
    I have never given access to my contacts for Facebook, yet I keep getting suggestions on friends to add to fb.

    For example, there are girls I had picked up at the bar and they're appearing there. It's odd and scary. I really wonder what else they can see.
     
  18. stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #18
    Can not trust anyone that pre-installs something on your smartphone and does not allow you to remove it or has Facebook.com and Facebook.net showing up in your Safari cache with no Facebook apps or visits to any Facebook Pages
     
  19. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #19
    Plenty more ways to suggest connections beyond using contacts.
     
  20. Kobbr macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2016
    #20
    And what other ways are those when the only contact I have with them is text. No other social media
     
  21. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #21
    Friends of friends? Perhaps updates based on where you were or plans with other friends about where you were or were doing? Etc.?
     
  22. Kobbr macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2016
    #22
    I don't post anything to social media and I never share my location. We have no mutual friends.
     
  23. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #23
    Maybe she did?
     

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