It’s hard to imagine spending a day without our phones, isn’t it? I’m sure you know that most of the apps you use daily aren’t actually great at keeping your data private. But have you ever wondered how much of it is actually shared? Which apps are the most invasive?
Folks at The Money Mongers did, so they conducted a study to answer these quesions. It’s probably no surprise that Meta’s apps have been found to be the most invasive. According to this study, Meta shares nearly all of your data with third parties, but there are other concerning statistical data to consider, too.
The team constructed the study based on the top 100 most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store. They looked at two main categories: third-party advertising and developer’s advertising or marketing that apps use to collect user data.
Under these categories are 14 different data points, including purchases, locations, contact info, user content, health & fitness, financial info, etc. The team scored the apps based on how many data points they were taking under each category and later averaged the score of two data categories to create a single score.
The data was last recorded on October 12, 2023.
The overall conclusion is probably not surprising, but it’s pretty scary when you see it written: 76% of the tested apps collect and share their user data in some form.
Meta’s newest app, Threads, was found to be the most invasive, collecting a staggering 86% of its user’s personal data. According to the study, Threads collect 72% more personal data than X (formerly Twitter). But other Meta apps weren’t far behind: the study shows that Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram collect 86% of the user’s personal data as well. WhatsApp wasn’t even included in the study, but here you can read more about the data it collects.
The only data Meta doesn’t share with third parties are your sensitive information and health and fitness data. Everything else, including your location, contact info, search history, identifiers, etc., is reportedly shared.
Your contact info is the prime data target, with a whopping 92% of top apps collecting it. Meta apps collect the most data for their own advertising and marketing benefits, which is something you probably could have guessed. Alarmingly, 36% of leading apps not only access, but also share your browsing history across various apps and websites!
Here’s a graph to better represent it:
According to the study, 51% of the apps share their user data with third parties. At the same time, 72% of the apps collect data for their own benefit. Amongst the top 100 social networking apps, 62% collect and share their users’ data. Interestingly enough, social media apps aren’t the worst in this regard. As much as 84% of shopping apps collect and share the personal data of their users.
Even though I’m aware that my data is being traded like everyone else’s, I admit I still felt shocked and concerned reading the results of this study. Even though you don’t expect privacy on the internet anymore, it’s different when you see the lack of it in numbers, isn’t it?
You can take a look at the full study and its findings on The Money Mongers, and let me know – will it make you delete any of these apps?