Popular period tracking apps are sending extremely personal information to Facebook regarding women’s health and their sexual practices, according to UK-based advocacy group Privacy International.
Their findings, shared with BuzzFeed News, reveal that “period-tracking apps including MIA Fem and Maya sent women’s use of contraception, the timings of their monthly periods, symptoms like swelling and cramps, and more, directly to Facebook.”
Notably, Maya – owned by India-based Plackal Tech, has over 5 million downloads, while MIA Fem: Ovulation Calculator owned by Cyprus-based Mobapp Development Ltd. claims to have over 2 million users worldwide.
The apps share information via Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK), which helps developers collect user data and incorporate various features so that Facebook can better target users with ads. When personal information is entered into the apps, it Privacy International says it may be sent to Facebook via the SDK.
Asked about the report, Facebook told BuzzFeed News it had gotten in touch with the apps Privacy International identified to discuss possible violations of its terms of service, including sending prohibited types of sensitive information.
“When Maya asks you to enter how you feel and offers suggestions of symptoms you might have — suggestions like blood pressure, swelling or acne — one would hope this data would be treated with extra care,” the report said. “But no, that information is shared with Facebook.”