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Facebook reportedly gathering personal data from Tinder, Pregnancy+, other apps

The social network has been collecting information such as dating profiles and religious affiliation, says a report.

Facebook

Android apps like Tinder and OKCupid are reportedly sharing personal information with Facebook.

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Facebook may be gathering some of your most personal information. 

Android apps like Tinder, Grindr and Pregnancy+ are sharing sensitive user information with Facebook, according to a Wednesday report from German mobile security company Mobilsicher.

The information reportedly includes dating profiles, health data, religious affiliation and other details. A user's Advertising ID, which lets Facebook link third-party app information to people using the apps, is also transmitted, according to BuzzFeed. This information is reportedly being gathered through the Software Developer Kit (SDK) Facebook gives to third-party app developers, which lets users log in with Facebook. 

Other Android apps Mobilsicher tested include OKCupid, Migraine Buddy, Bible+ and Muslim Pro.

Facebook isn't necessarily trying to hide its collection of this information, BuzzFeed notes. Facebook's policies say it can gather information from third-party apps that use its SDKs and APIs, but a representative for the social network told CNET she couldn't identify the specific apps from which the company collects data. The representative said Facebook uses Advertising ID, which is unique to each user and lets users opt out of personalized ads.

Most of the developers Mobilsicher talked to thought the information Facebook received was anonymous. But though names aren't included in the data, the information is far from anonymized, Buzzfeed notes.  

Facebook reportedly provides developers with information such as how long users are on an app and where they click. In exchange, the social network reportedly accesses the data gathered by apps and then uses it to create targeted advertising. For example, a person who regularly uses the Pregnancy+ app may start seeing more ads for baby clothes. 

The data is sent to Facebook whether or not users are logged into the social platform, Mobilsicher says. If you've ever logged onto Facebook from your phone, the company can link information from the third-party app to your profile. Even if a person doesn't have a Facebook profile, BuzzFeed says, the information can still be shared and gathered with other third-party app data that's linked to the person's Advertising ID.

The Facebook representative said the company doesn't use third-party data to create profiles for people who aren't Facebook users. And while Facebook gives someone the option to withdraw from personalized ads, it still has to process the data to see if that person is a Facebook user and whether she or he has opted out. 

The news comes after a Tuesday report that Facebook gave companies like Netflix and Spotify more access to users' personal data than it had previously disclosed. The social network's use of personal information has come under scrutiny since it was revealed in March that Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy linked to the Trump presidential campaign, improperly accessed data on up to 87 million Facebook users. The social network has also been under fire for not doing more to prevent interference by Russian trolls during the 2016 US presidential election.

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