New research from UK-based advocacy group Privacy International uncovered that some period-tracking apps were sharing sensitive data with Facebook. Tracking apps like MIA Fem and Maya shared information with the social network, including when the user logged contraception use, monthly periods, menstruation symptoms and more, the group said Monday.
Privacy International’s research, reported earlier by BuzzFeed News, examined apps that it said had millions of downloads. The group found that Maya by Plackal Tech and MIA by Mobapp Development Limited, were sharing extensive amounts of sensitive user information with Facebook and other third parties.
Plackal Tech didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but told Privacy International that it has since removed both the Facebook core software development kit (or SDK) and Analytics SDK from the Maya app. Mobapp Development Limited didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook’s policies say it can gather information from third-party apps that use its SDKs and APIs. The SDK integrates with apps to provide features like analytics or letting users log in with Facebook.
Privacy International also discovered that My Period Tracker by Linchpin Health, Ovulation Calculator by Pinkbird and Mi Calendario by Grupo Familia, notified Facebook when the user opened the app. Mi Calendario was also using an outdated version of the Facebook SDK, according to the research.
The research also examined some of the most popular period-tracking apps — Period Tracker by Leap Fitness Group, Period Tracker Flo by Flo Health, Period Tracker by Simple Design, and Clue Period Tracker by Biowink — and found they weren’t sharing any data with Facebook.
Facebook and the other apps didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
Cycle-tracking apps aren’t new and can be used to monitor a pregnancy, menstruation and more. Most recently, Apple and Fitbit wearables incorporated menstrual cycle trackers into their devices.