Facebook had a disastrous year, and it appears that things are not about to get any better. A new privacy scandal arises for Facebook after Privacy International analyzed 34 popular Android apps and discovered that they send data to Facebook. Worse than that, it didn’t even matter whether users even had a Facebook account.
“We found that at least 61 percent of apps we tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app. This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not. We also found that some apps routinely send Facebook data that is incredibly detailed and sometimes sensitive,” Privacy International explained in a statement.
This could lead to serious consequences, more severe than we could even imagine. We have to remember that multiple apps collect our data and send it to Facebook, which has the ability to combine all the information received:
If combined, data from different apps can paint a fine-grained and intimate picture of people’s activities, interests, behaviors and routines, some of which can reveal special category data, including information about people’s health or religion.
Facebook receives the data through Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK). Facebook explained that this tool “means that developers can choose to collect app events automatically, to not collect them at all, or to delay collecting them until consent is obtained, depending on their particular circumstances.” However, this response isn’t enough to calm users.
Facebook also added that the Data Policy and Cookies Policy explain the company’s “collection of information”. Nonetheless, people are still worried, and for good reason. It appears that even those who managed to live without a Facebook account can’t stay away from its influence. Perhaps it is time to put some regulations into place before it is too late.
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.