A recent study conducted by The Money Mongers delves into the alarming extent of data collection by apps, with particular emphasis on Meta’s applications, shedding light on the challenges posed by data privacy in the digital age.
The study, based on the top 100 most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store, focuses on two primary categories: Third-Party Advertising and Developer’s Advertising or Marketing.
The study reveals that an overwhelming 76% of these apps collect and share user data in various forms, highlighting the ubiquitous nature of data collection in the app ecosystem. Among the top-ranking apps, Meta’s Threads emerges as the most invasive, collecting a staggering 86% of users’ personal data. This places Threads ahead of other social media giants, such as X (formerly Twitter), by a significant margin.
Further findings indicate that while 51% of the apps share user data with third parties, a substantial 72% collect data for their own benefit, emphasizing the extent to which companies are accumulating user information for various purposes.
Meta’s dominance in the data collection sphere is evident, with its apps collecting a remarkable 86% of users’ personal data. This has raised concerns about the company’s practices and their impact on user privacy.
The study also categorizes data collection based on its purpose. A major focus is on third-party advertising, which involves collecting data for displaying third-party ads within the app or sharing user data with entities responsible for these ads. Social media apps take the lead in this category, with an average data collection rate of 37.73%. Notably, 66% of the apps collect location data to share with third parties, while 64% collect contact information for similar purposes.
Examining the second category, developer’s advertising or marketing, it is evident that this data is collected to display first-party ads within the app, send marketing communications, and share data with entities that manage these ads. A significant 72% of apps collect data for their own benefit, underlining the vast landscape of data-driven marketing in the digital sphere.
For Meta, these findings add to the growing list of data privacy concerns and legal battles it faces worldwide. The most recent lawsuit, initiated by Nigeria, raises questions about advertising regulations and the impact on user privacy. Notably, European privacy regulators have imposed a substantial 1.2 billion euro fine on the company for breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the largest fine ever issued for GDPR violations. These legal challenges hold far-reaching consequences for Meta’s operations, reputation, and data handling practices.
While Meta intends to appeal the 1.2 billion euro fine and maintains its commitment to data protection, the outcome of these legal battles will influence the future of data privacy regulations and digital advertising practices.
Governments and regulatory bodies are closely monitoring these proceedings, potentially resulting in stricter data protection requirements and a redefined landscape for tech giants and user privacy.