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Facebook tracks data of even offline users and non-facebook account holders

The study 'How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook' by Privacy International found that 61 per cent of the total apps that were studied, sent information to Facebook.

Published: 30th December 2018 11:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th December 2018 11:56 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Facebook, with the help of other apps, routinely tracks and collects data of Android users irrespective of whether they are a user and more importantly non-user or logged-out from their account, found a study released on Sunday.

The study "How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook" by Privacy International found that 61 per cent of the total apps that were studied, sent information to Facebook through Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK). "This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not," it said.

It found that the data these apps shared with Facebook were incredibly detailed and "sometimes sensitive". The study noted that the data from different-apps if combined could paint an intimate picture of people's activities, their tastes, behaviour, routines and so on. 

Citing an example the report said, "For example, an individual who has installed the following apps that we have tested, "Qibla Connect" (a Muslim prayer app), "Period Tracker Clue" (a period tracker), "Indeed" (a job search app), "My Talking Tom" (a children’s’ app), could be potentially profiled as likely female, likely Muslim, likely job seeker, likely parent."

It does not end there. The apps that transmit data were also found to share this data with Google advertising ID (AAID). Advertising IDs such as Google's allow advertisers to link data about user behaviour from different apps and web browsing into a comprehensive profile.

"Without any further transparency from Facebook, it is impossible to know for certain, how the data that we have described in this report is being used. This is particularity the case since Facebook has been less than transparent about the ways in which it uses data of non-Facebook users in the past," the study, which was done between August and December, concluded.



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