Oh, Facebook! What are you like? It seems that the social network is caught with its hand in the cookie jar almost every day now. The latest? Facebook has been analyzing your very heart and soul - thanks to data gathered about your lovelife, religious affiliation, health and fertility from related apps.
The apps in question include popular dating services such as Tinder, Grindr, and OKCupid, health apps like Pregnancy+ and Migraine Buddy, as well as relgious apps like Bible+ and Muslim Pro. This is all according to a Wednesday report from German mobile security company Mobilsicher.
The report alleges that these apps share sensitive information with Facebook vis Facebook's SDK which allows users to log into different apps via Facebook. The information shared to Facebook includes dating profiles, health information, religious beliefs and other details as well as the user's Advertising ID, which lets Facebook link third-party app information to people using the apps.
This may be no surprise to some, since Facebook's policies say it can gather information from third-party apps that use its SDKs and APIs, but more controversial is the sheer depth of information transmitted, especially from apps to do with dating or religious belief that could contain sensitive details that could lead to people being targeted. Just imagine for example, the users whose info for both Grindr and their family's conservative religious group gets out in one of those all-too-common data leaks.
Facebook reportedly provides developers with information such as how much time users spend on a particular app and where they click. In return, the social network allegedly accesses the data gathered by these apps for the purpose of targeted advertising. E.g., a person who regularly uses the Pregnancy+ app may start seeing more ads for baby equipment, the newly single may be targeted for particular products and so on.
Think you're safe from data gathering? Don't be so sure
If you think just not logging into Facebook will protect your data from this, you've got another thing coming. Mobilsicher says that data is sent to Facebook regardless. If you've ever logged onto Facebook from your phone, Facebook can still link information from the third-party app to your profile.
Even if you don't have a Facebook profile, the information can still be shared and gathered with other third-party app data that's linked to the person's Advertising ID. The 'shadow profiles' from the Cambridge Analytica scandal raise their head again, although Facebook has denied that the company uses third-party data to create profiles for people who aren't Facebook users.
Finally, you can always just 'opt-out' of your targeted advertising on Facebook, right? Well, here's the thing. A Facebook rep clarified to BuzzFeed News that while it enables users to opt out of targeted ads from third parties, the controls apply to the usage of the data and not its collection. So your data is still being gathered. Just not used, apparently.
What do you think of the latest Facebook information. Has 2018's events prompted you to leave the social network?