Some period tracking apps have been sending data to Facebook, BuzzFeed reports, including when you had sex, if you logged that using the apps. They also share other information you’ve logged, from detailed medical data to your mood to the fact that you’re using a menstruation app.
We know this because UK-based Privacy International recently tested several of the world’s most popular period tracking apps on Android, and published detailed information on what data they found being shared by two apps, Maya by Plackal Tech, and MIA Fem by Mobapp Development Limited.
A previous report found that Period Tracker by Leap Fitness Group; Period Tracker Flo by Flo Health, Inc.; Period Tracker by Simple Design Ltd.; and Clue Period Tracker by Biowink. do not share detailed information with Facebook, according to the group’s analysis.
Why do period tracking apps want to share so much data? At least part of the reason seems to be for ad purposes. Advertisers would love to know whether you’re trying to become pregnant, your mood and more. The period trackers in the report also asked about your use of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco, whether you’re having digestive issues, whether you use tampons or pads, what type of birth control you’re on, and more. You can also add your own notes to the app, and these get sent to Facebook as well.
The apps used Facebook’s software development kit (SDK) that provides multiple tools to developers: the ability to log in via Facebook, in addition to ad targeting, analytics, and more. App developers aren’t supposed to transmit sensitive information, and they aren’t supposed to collect information that they don’t actually need for the app’s functionality. Facebook told Buzzfeed it plans to “discuss possible violations of its terms of service” with the developers.