Meta's Facebook and Instagram Are the Most Data Hungry Apps According to This Study

Surfshark recently did a deep dive into the top 100 most popular apps on the App Store, and they found that 20% of the data they are collecting is for tracking purposes with all things having been considered and taken into account. These apps were ranked based on 32 data points that they are currently in the process of collecting, all of which are defined by Apple’s privacy policy.

Facebook and Instagram were found to be the least privacy conscious apps of all. They collect all 32 data points, all of which are tied to the identity of the user in question, and 7 of which are used specifically for tracking purposes. These include data points such as names, home addresses as well as phone numbers, which seems to suggest that these apps offer far less privacy than users would ideally prefer.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that X, formerly known as Twitter, was also a major offender in this regard. It collected fewer data points than Facebook and Instagram, or 22 to be precise, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, it used 11 of them to track users.

On the other end of the spectrum, Signal was found to be the most privacy conscious app of all, at least in terms of social media and instant messaging. It collects a single data point, namely the user’s phone number, and it doesn’t link it to the identity of the user nor does it utilize it for any tracking purposes whatsoever on third party platforms.

Interestingly, WhatsApp was also surprisingly privacy conscious despite coming under the Meta umbrella just like Facebook and Instagram. It didn’t use any of its collected data for tracking, making it, Signal and Telegram the only three apps to avoid this practice.

Users need to be educated about which apps are tracking them, otherwise they might not know when their privacy at risk. This study shows that some apps are continuing to find a way to track users despite Apple’s privacy policy.

Which apps collect the most data?

What data is used the most by the top 100 apps

The top 10 most privacy-sensitive apps

how the collected data is handled

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