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Menstruation Tracker Apps, Used by Millions of Women, Told Facebook When Users are Having Sex

The report noted that both the applications start sharing the information before one even agrees to their privacy policies.


Updated:September 11, 2019, 11:29 AM IST
Menstruation Tracker Apps, Used by Millions of Women, Told Facebook When Users are Having Sex
Image for representation. (News18 creative by Mir Suhail)

As much as social media platforms provide us with all the necessary help we need in different variants of our lives, it even puts our privacy at stake.

And if you are wondering till what extent Facebook wants to know your secrets; turns out, it may be till the extent of knowing when was the last time a woman had sex or what contraceptive she used.

A recent study has exposed that period tracker applications share all the sensitive data with Facebook.

As per a report by BuzzFeed News, UK-based advocacy group Privacy International exposed the 'dubious practices' of apps, which are quite helpful to women in tracking their cycle and helping users know their right times to conceive. This process includes knowing a user's personal information, which concerns their menstruation cycle, in order to have the right prediction of it and calculate the ovulation period.

Th study, 'No Body's Business But Mine: How Menstruation Apps Are Sharing Your Data' reveals that out of the few studied-apps with a wide user-reach, two of them, Maya by Plackal Tech and MIA by Mobapp Development have appeared to extensively share highly personal data with Facebook to target audience for advertisers.

The applications use Facebook's Software Development Kit (SDK), which is an application developer and helps these apps in collecting data to show target advertisements.

In the process of this, these apps end up in sharing all the sensitive data with Facebook and a user of this app doesn't even necessarily have to be on Facebook.

Although medical data is among a range of sensitive data and this confidentiality is a part of medical ethics, the report notes that these apps did not follow the guidelines. They were, instead, sharing with the giant social media platform.

These data help the apps to "comply" the advertisements with the mood of its users.

Although one of the apps, Maya's, privacy policy says that no personal data is disclosed, it also discloses that users' personal data can be used "to comply with our advertisers".

The report noted that both the applications start sharing the information before one even agrees to their privacy policies.

Adding on to the breach of privacy, MIA also shares the data with AppsFlyer along with Facebook.

Asked about the findings, Facebook told BuzzFeed News it had gotten in touch with the apps Privacy International identified to discuss possible violations of its terms of service, including sending prohibited types of sensitive information.

The India-based Maya has over 5 million downloads while the Cyprus-based MIA has over 2 million users globally.

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| Edited by: Shreya Basak
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