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You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook


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Someone whispering to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook collects sensitive data from at least 11 popular smartphone apps seconds after users enter it, according to testing by The Wall Street Journal.

Credit: Casey Laprath

Testing by The Wall Street Journal demonstrated Facebook collects sensitive data from at least 11 popular smartphone apps seconds after users enter it, even if the user has no Facebook account to log in, or if the user is not a Facebook member.

The apps frequently send data without any significant or specific disclosure.

Facebook said some of the data sharing revealed by testing appeared to breach its business terms, and it is instructing apps flagged by the Journal to stop transmitting information users might deem sensitive.

The core issue surrounds Facebook's "App Events" analytics tool, enabling app developers to view statistics about their users' activities, and target those users with personalized ads.

According to privacy experts, these practices may violate certain statutes, including a new European privacy law.

Said Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius at Radboud University in the Netherlands, "Companies basically always need consent—likely both the app developer and Facebook."

From The Wall Street Journal
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