Since the introduction of European Union GDPR back in May, apps and services have been restricted from sharing user’s data to the third party without their knowledge.
At the time of the ruling, Facebook was given a special treatment, considering its involvement in the Cambridge Analytical Scandal where data of millions of users was breached.
Now, the Privacy International study has found many popular apps – at least 20 out of 34 – are still sending data to Facebook without user’s consent. To put it in other words, Facebook gets hold of your data even if you are not part of the social media platform, or logged out of it.
Financial Times writes that the apps including TripAdvisor, MyFitnessPal, and Skyscanner send sensitive information to Facebook, the second they are opened on the phone, even before the permissions pop-up.
The data sent to Facebook varies from app to app. Generally, it is the app name, the unique user ID with Google, the number of times the app was accessed, etc.
However, some apps were found sharing insights like the travel site Kayak. The app shared details about the people’s flight searchers which includes travel dates, destinations, number of family members boarding the flight, etc.
As much we want it to be, Facebook is not solely responsible for the data sharing. Since the ruling, the company has complied with the GDPR laws and updated the development kits, it has even added hundreds of API restrictions.
The problem actually lies on the developer’s end where the older version of the development kit is still in use. Like Skyscanner wasn’t even aware that its app was sending data to Facebook, the study mentions.
After the report was published, Facebook came forward and told the Financial Times that the developers should turn off the automatic gathering function. The company also advised developers to use the option for delaying collection of app analytics information, that Facebook introduced this year.
UPDATE – Following the report, Skyscanner has told us that they have updated their app and it does not transmit data to Facebook anymore.