Over the years, Facebook has been accused of virtually sharing its user’s information. But these days, most apps are sharing sensitive user information with Facebook allowing them to identify and link third-party app information to the people using those apps.
According to German mobile security initiative Mobilsicher, apps like Tinder, Grindr and Pregnancy+ are inconspicuously transmitting sensitive user data to Facebook. The data includes things like religious affiliation, dating profiles, and healthcare info. Facebook intentionally collects the info through the Software Developer Kit (SDK) that it provides to third-party app developers.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Among the information being transmitted to Facebook is the IP address of the device using the app, the type of device, time of use, and a user-specific Advertising ID, which allows Facebook to identify and link third-party app information to the people using those apps. Apps that Mobilsicher tested include Bible+, Curvy, ForDiabetes, Grindr, Kwitt, Migraine Buddy, Moodpath, Muslim Pro, OkCupid, Pregnancy+ and more.
As long as you’ve logged into Facebook on your mobile device at some point, whether through your phone’s browser or the Facebook app, the company cross-references the Advertising ID and can link the third-party app information to your profile. Even if you don’t have a Facebook, the data can still be transmitted and collected with other third-party app data that corresponds to your unique Advertising ID.
Facebook has already been blamed for exposing sensitive user info of over 30 million users in September, the public and private photos of 6.8 million users earlier this month and most recently, the New York Times reported that Facebook gave more than 150 companies, including Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Spotify, and Yahoo undisclosed access to users’ personal data, including access to private messages.
So if you ever wondered how Facebook knew you were thinking about buying a new toaster or that you wanted to go on a vacation, it’s pretty possible this is why.