Third-party apps have been sharing users’sensitive personal data – such as health and fitness statistics and ovulation times – with Facebook regardless of whether the user has an account with the social media site.
Facebook did not solicit the data from the 11 apps (including Realtor.com, BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts, Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, Breethe, and Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor) identified by a report in the Wall Street Journal and said not only does it delete any such information it discovers but it would take action against the apps, if they continue to send data its way.
“For these specific apps, we will reach out to them and notify them that the data they’re sharing can be perceived as sensitive by their users so they should stop sending it,” Facebook said in a statement. “Again, should they refuse to comply, we may take further action where warranted.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Facebook access to the information “represents an invasion of privacy and breach of consumer trust,” noting that the “practice, which in some cases clearly violates Facebook’s own business terms, is an outrageous abuse of privacy.”
New Yorkers should have confidence “that their personal information is safe, and we must hold internet companies – no matter how big – responsible for upholding the law and protecting the information of smartphone users,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am directing the New York Department of State, in partnership with the Department of Financial Services and other state agencies, to immediately investigate this invasion of consumer privacy and I also call on relevant federal regulators to step up and help us put an end to this practice and protect the rights of consumers.”