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Facebook’s App Store Privacy Labels: What They Mean for Your Data and Privacy

Facebook recently updated its App Store privacy labels to reveal its user data collection practices as per the guidelines of the marketplace. This is part of Apple’s crackdown on user privacy making it a mandate for all App Store apps to disclose what data they collect from their users and how they use it. The App Privacy section is at the bottom of any app listings page and it details information on whether the app uses your data to track you across other websites or apps, or collects it for third-party advertising, developer marketing, analytics, better product personalisation, or improving app functionality.

The social media giant had to disclose how it collects data after Apple made it mandatory last December for apps to submit the information with reviews for app updates or new app listings. The privacy labels suggest Facebook uses important data like contact information to track users across other websites and apps.

Where can I see Facebook’s privacy labels?

Head to Facebook’s App Store listing and scroll down to a section called App Privacy. This section details all the data collection and tracking practices by the social media giant. You can click on ‘See Details’ at the top right corner of the section for more intricate information.

What kind of data does Facebook use to track users across other websites and apps?

Facebook collects contact information data like physical address, email address, name and phone number and uses it to track you across other websites and apps. It also uses identifiers like User ID and Device ID as well. User ID can be screen name, handle, account ID, assigned user ID, customer number, or other user- or account-level ID that can be used to identify a particular user or account.

What kind of data does Facebook collect to for third-party advertising or developers’ advertising/marketing?

For the purpose of showing third-party ads, Facebook collects users’ purchase history, and financial information such as salary, income, assets, or debts. It even accesses users’ precise location, coarse location, contacts, physical address, email address, name and phone number. Additionally, Facebook peeps into users’ photos and videos, gameplay content (such as saved games, multiplayer matching or gameplay logic, or user-generated content in-game), search history, browsing history, User ID, and device ID.

Product interaction such as app launches, taps, clicks, scrolling information, music listening data, video views, saved place in a game, video, or song, or other information about how the user interacts with the app is also recorded for third-party advertising purposes. Facebook also collects advertising data such as information about the advertisements the user has seen. If this was not enough, the social media app also sees your crash logs and performance data such as launch time, hang rate, and energy use.

Besides third-party advertising, Facebook also uses all of the same data for its own marketing and advertising purposes such as displaying first-party ads in your app, sending marketing communications directly to you, or sharing data with entities who will display your ads.

What kind of data does Facebook collect for analytics?

In its privacy labels, Facebook has disclosed that it also collects a varied amount of data for analytics. This means it uses data to evaluate user behaviour, including understanding the effectiveness of existing product features, plan new features, or measure audience size or characteristics. The app collects health and medical data, including but not limited to data from the Clinical Health Records API, HealthKit API, MovementDisorderAPIs, or health-related human subject research or any other user provided health or medical data. It also collects fitness and exercise data, including but not limited to the Motion and Fitness API.

Apart from this, Facebook uses payment information like form of payment, payment card number, or bank account number for analytics. It also uses purchase history, precise location, coarse location, contacts, physical address, email address, name, phone number, photos, videos, and gameplay content. The company says it looks into the user’s voice or sound recordings and data generated by the user during a customer support request for analytics.

Additionally, Facebook looks at search history, browsing history, User ID, Device ID, product interactions, advertising data, crash logs, and performance data as well. The company mentions that it looks at sensitive information like racial or ethnic data, sexual orientation, pregnancy or childbirth information, disability, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, political opinion, genetic information, or biometric data for analytics only.

What kind of data does Facebook collect for product personalisation and improved app functionality?

Product personalisation means customising what the user sees, such as a list of recommended products, posts, or suggestions. App Functionality, on the other hand, means data used to authenticate the user, enable features, prevent fraud, implement security measures, ensure server up-time, minimize app crashes, improve scalability and performance, or perform customer support. Facebook says that it collects purchase history, financial information, precise location, coarse location, physical address, email address, name, phone number, contacts, photos, videos, gameplay content, search history, browsing history, User ID, Device ID, crash logs, performance data, product interactions, advertising data, and sensitive information for product personalisation.

For improving app functionality, Facebook uses health and fitness data, purchase history, payment information, credit score, precise location, coarse location, physical address, email address, name, phone number, contacts, emails, texts, photos, videos, audio data, gameplay content, customer support data, search history, browsing history, User ID, Device ID, product interactions, advertising data, sensitive information, crash logs, and performance data.


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