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Forget ghosts, ghouls or vampires. Experts say it’s Meta’s intrusive data-collection practices that you should be scared of this Halloween.
That’s according recent report by the crypto think tank The Money Mongers, which revealed that Meta’s Threads, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger each collect as much as 86 per cent of your personal data to pass it onto party advertisers and vendors.
The findings, recorded on October 12, were part of a study into the data collection practices of 100 of the world’s most popular social media apps on Apple’s App Store.
Threads, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger topped the charts as the most data-hungry apps examined, collecting almost 20 per cent more than their nearest contender, LinkedIn. Other apps on the list included X, which collects half of its users’ data, and Youtube ay 43%.
The study also found that 64 per cent of the 100 apps examined shared sensitive data such as contact information, location data and content preferences with third-party advertisers and vendors.
Contact information was the biggest target for these apps, with 9 in every 10 apps collecting it. More sensitive information, such as browsing history, was collected by 36 per cent of apps.
Haunting your privacy
This is not the first time Meta has been called out for its data collection practices. The social media giant also recently came under fire after it was found that its recently launched social app Threads would be powered by people’s data.
Users discovered the app would be collecting notably more data than Twitter – which Meta CEO Zuckerberg hoped Threads would replace – including everything from health and fitness data to browsing history and location.
The extent of this data collection was so extreme that both then-Twitter CEO Elon Musk and co-founder Jack Dorsey commented on Thread’s excessive data collection practices.
— jack (@jack) July 4, 2023
And as Meta looks towards turning Threads into a decentralized service – which would allow users to view Threads content across other apps and theoretically give them more control over their data – experts warn that the move could expand the company’s reach across the internet.
Meta has also been haunted by a record number of data privacy breaches over the past few years. The social media giant was hit by a record-breaking €1.2 billion fine Issued by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) earlier this year after the EU watchdog found it was mishandling people’s data when transferring data between the EU and the United States.
It has also recently come under fire from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which threatened to ban Meta from profiting from minors’ data after accusing the tech giant of failing to implement proper parental controls and making its apps too addictive for children.