According to a new study, Instagram is the most “invasive” app on your smartphone. Facebook’s own social network, where photos and videos are shared, collects 79 percent of users’ personal information to share with third parties such as advertisers. The search history, your current location, your contacts and financial information are shared with third parties according to the study. Yikes
The research was carried out by the cloud storage company pCloud. To determine which app is responsible for getting most of your data, pCloud analyzed the app privacy labels recently introduced in the Apple App Store. Apple now requires all developers – including yourself – to specify exactly how users’ data will be used. This includes breaking down how data is used by the app in order for the features to work as planned … and how much data is collected and shared with third parties.
“All the information that you have an app collect when you register can be analyzed and even passed on to your advantage. Everything from your browsing history to your location, your bank details, your contact details and your fitness level can be valuable for apps to store, use or resell, ”wrote Ivan Dimitrov, digital manager at pCloud, in a blog post detailed the research. “With over 1 billion monthly active users, it is worrying that Instagram is a hub for sharing such a large amount of the data of its ignorant users.”
Instagram has become an extremely important part of the Facebook portfolio. It is estimated that more than half of Instagram users worldwide are 34 years or younger. This is a crucial demographic for Facebook as it has slowly left Mark Zuckerberg’s gigantic social network, which now tends to be older than when it was first launched as a university-exclusive platform over a decade ago.
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Facebook has publicly criticized Apple’s app data protection label. The California social network paid for full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times last year to declare that it “can stand up to Apple,” and highlight that data collection is essential for small businesses … and its own bottom line.
When it comes to collecting data about its users, parent company Facebook ranks second after Instagram. The social network has given 57 percent of the user data to third parties. According to pCloud researchers, these can also be companies affiliated with the company. On Facebook, this includes Instagram and WhatsApp.
Moving away from social networks, grocery delivery apps like Deliver and Uber Eats were also among the top 10 worst offenders. Trainline, YouTube, Duolingo, and eBay make this list too.
So what about the smartphone apps that keep your data, search history, settings, and contact information under lock and key? Well, pCloud has highlighted competing apps Just Eat, Grubhub, and McDonald’s as some of the best examples of user data retention.
Privacy-centric messaging apps Signal and Telegram have also received praise, while Netflix and BBC iPlayer are some of the best streaming services when it comes to preventing your data from being shared with anyone.
“The changes make it easier for users to consider data protection issues when deciding whether to buy or download an app,” said the competition and market regulator, praising the App Store’s data protection labels when they were introduced earlier this year. “Protecting people’s control over their data is important to protecting privacy and the healthy operation of the market.”