Some iOS Apps Sending an Alarming Amount of Data to Facebook and Most Users Are Unaware

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    It's no secret that Facebook is harvesting incredible amounts of data on all of its users (and some that don't even use the service), but what may come as a surprise is just how detailed and intimate some of that data is.

    A report from The Wall Street Journal takes a look at some of the apps on iOS that provide data to Facebook, with that info then used for advertising purposes.

    [​IMG]

    Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, for example, the most popular heart rate app on iOS, sent a user's heart rate to Facebook right after it was recorded in The Wall Street Journal's testing. Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, which has 25 million active users, tells Facebook when a user is having a period or is intending to get pregnant.

    Realtor.com, meanwhile, provides Facebook with the location and price of listings that a user viewed. With Flo in particular, it says it does not send this kind of sensitive data in its privacy policy, but then goes ahead and does so anyway.

    Many of these apps are sending this data without "any prominent or specific disclosure," according to The Wall Street Journal's testing. Facebook collects data from apps even if no Facebook account is used to log in and even if the user isn't a member of Facebook.

    Apps are sharing this data to take advantage of Facebook analytics tools that allow them to target their users more precisely with Facebook ads.

    Apple does not require apps to disclose all of the partners that they share data with, and while certain personal information can be blocked, like contacts or location, more sensitive data, like health and fitness details, can be readily shared by these apps as there's no option to turn off this kind of data sharing.

    Users can turn off Facebook's targeted advertising, but have no way to prevent apps from surreptitiously sending collected data to Facebook in the first place.

    Facebook claimed that some of the data sharing The Wall Street Journal uncovered violates its business terms, and has asked these apps to stop sending information app users would consider sensitive.

    The Wall Street Journal spoke to an Apple spokesperson, who said its App Store Guidelines require apps to obtain user consent for collecting data.
    At least 11 out of the 70 apps tested by The Wall Street Journal were sending sensitive user data to Facebook, including six of the top 15 health and fitness apps. There's little end users can do, except for be wary of the apps they're choosing to download. Apple in the future could introduce more stringent guidelines and policy controls that would better put a stop to this kind of intrusive data harvesting.

    The Wall Street Journal's full report, which is well worth reading, offers more detail on how it tested these apps and how some of the apps responded.

    Article Link: Some iOS Apps Sending an Alarming Amount of Data to Facebook and Most Users Are Unaware
     
  2. tzm41 macrumors regular

    tzm41

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Woof, and people keep talking about the walled garden protecting them
     
  3. acorntoy, Feb 22, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019

    acorntoy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    #3
    Facebook is freakin creepy.


    Stop using it people. Just stop.

    The massive amount of people using Facebook is what has allowed it to garner this type of power with third parties. Facebook continues to have massive scandals and the same people who are outraged go and check on it two minutes later. People need to stop using it, delete their accounts, and eventually it will not have this kind of power.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    The full report appears to be behind a paywall :(

    I'm surprised by this revelation, but should I really at this point? Sad, to see such major sites, like realtor.com doing such things.
     
  5. mgollaher92 macrumors member

    mgollaher92

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
  6. givemeanapple, Feb 22, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019

    givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God

    givemeanapple

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Location:
    Earth
  7. Romeo_Nightfall macrumors 6502

    Romeo_Nightfall

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Location:
    Vienna
    #7
    Apple and especially Tim Cook , mr. Caraokee give a ... about privacy. It’s just a marketing instrument.
    And his Stanford speech is just the topping on all that.

    It’s just disgusting what comes out recently only about the App Store
     
  8. walterhpdx macrumors newbie

    walterhpdx

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Live: Oregon - Work: Anywhere (currently SoCal)
    #8
    Sounds like a class action lawsuit just waiting to happen if they're NOT disclosing data sharing.
     
  9. Khedron macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #9
    Apple should buy another billboard, that'll show 'em
     
  10. cmaier macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #10
    That's the way facebook would like you to frame the issue.

    The problem is Facebook Is Evil.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 22, 2019 ---
    How is Apple supposed to prevent this? Spend a week analyzing each release of each app, after it has been released (because developers can change the behavior on-the-fly by building in date checks or server checks), and from random coffee shops (because developers can detect Apple's IP range and prevent bad behavior while the reviewers are reviewing the app)?
     
  11. skinned66 macrumors 65816

    skinned66

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #11
    That all sounds scummy as hell. Surprise, Facebook is involved.
     
  12. omihek macrumors 6502

    omihek

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #12
    In this particular case it doesn't matter if you stop using it. They are still getting your data from other apps you use. Just delete any apps that are found to be doing this. Or turn off all your technology and go live out in the woods. Seems that might be the only way to maintain privacy these days. Smh.
     
  13. JustSomeInfo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #13
    That won't even help in this case: "Facebook collects data from apps even if no Facebook account is used to log in and even if the user isn't a member of Facebook."

    EDIT: Damn you, omihek. You snuck in just ahead of me. :)
     
  14. acorntoy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    #14
    The massive amount of people using Facebook is what has allowed it to garner this type of power with third parties. Facebook continues to have massive scandals and the same people who are outraged go and check on it two minutes later. People need to stop using it, delete their accounts, and eventually it will not have this kind of power.
     
  15. mrex macrumors 68040

    mrex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Location:
    europe
    #15
    oh, remember that there is ”if you get caught you may be banned” -guideline for devs.’ (selling user data)... devs have made lots of money by selling user information for years until apple just on last year changed their policy ”if you get caught”... it is still not protected and you can only trust devs - but you know, easy money is easy money...

    privacy in appstore/apps are pretty much hype apple managed to create.

    isnt that the way apple marketed their appstore against playstore - every apps are checked and privacy was always important?
     
  16. nviz22 macrumors 603

    nviz22

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    #16
    Well, we all know that Apple will not take down major FB apps temporarily. But if they did? It would send a clear message about data privacy.
     
  17. Rbjkingston macrumors newbie

    Rbjkingston

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #17
    every day more hate to facebook and this must stop already and be eliminated damn the days that came this evil
     
  18. Heineken macrumors 65816

    Heineken

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
  19. Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    #19
    Facebook is evil and Apple shouldn’t allow whatever is happening here.
     
  20. nviz22 macrumors 603

    nviz22

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    #20
    It’s naiveness to think that any OS isn’t susceptible to data privacy concerns. Only way to reduce or mitigate data collection is living off the grid lol.
     
  21. blcamp macrumors regular

    blcamp

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #21
    It’s exactly this kind of crippety-crap that gives rise to onerous stuff like the GDPR, which places ridiculous burdens on ethical companies just trying to provide honest services to consumers. Just wait, it’s only a matter of time before the US steps in with it’s own regulatory hell. The days of the Internet as we now know it are numbered...
     
  22. cmaier macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #22
    If apple believes facebook has violated apple’s policy they will take down facebook’s App. In this case it’s not clear that fb specifically violated the policy (versus encouraging others to do so by providing an architecture that makes it easy and valuable to do it)
     
  23. ghostface147 macrumors 68030

    ghostface147

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    #23
    It wasn’t for me. Odd. I don’t subscribe to any paywall sites.
     
  24. cmaier macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #24
    Welcome! Two messages posted so far, and this is one of them, huh? Are you pro- or anti-facebook?
     
  25. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #25
    The entire article is not being shown

    upload_2019-2-22_13-6-23.png
     

Share This Page

352 February 22, 2019