NY wants to know why Facebook collects health data from iPhone apps

The state seeks information on 11 iPhone apps that allegedly share very personal information with Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
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Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has until March 15 to respond.

Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images

New York officials are seeking explanations following an allegation that Facebook collects personal data from apps including weight, alcohol consumption, menstrual cycles, heart rate and blood pressure.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one app even allowed a person to record "sexual activity" as exercise and sent that data to Facebook.

The New York Department of Financial Services sent letters on Wednesday requesting documents from the social media giant and developers of the 11 iPhone apps in question, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The letter sent to  Facebook  CEO  Mark Zuckerberg  seeks information about the app developers, data categories and a list of New York residents whose data was compromised, the Journal reported. Letters sent to app developers request copies of each company's contracts with Facebook and a description of fees and commissions paid to or received from Facebook regarding the apps.

According to the letters, the materials are due by March 15. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the investigation into Facebook after The Wall Street Journal published an article a week ago.

"It's common for developers to share information with a wide range of platforms for advertising and analytics," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "To be clear, the report was focused on how other apps use people's information to create Facebook ads."

Facebook said it requires other app developers to tell their users what information is being shared with the social media site. The company also specified that it prohibits developers from sending sensitive data and removes any information that shouldn't have been shared.

These are the 11 apps that allegedly share user data with Facebook, according to the Journal:

  • Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker
  • Weight Loss Fitness by Verv
  • BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts
  • Lose It!
  • GetFit: Home Fitness & Workout
  • Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor
  • BetterMen: Fitness Trainer
  • Realtor.com Real Estate Search
  • Trulia Real Estate: Find Homes
  • Breethe: Sleep & Meditation
  • Glucose Buddy