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Image credit: Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images

Facebook collects user data from apps like Tinder, OKCupid and others

The apps share the information via Facebook’s SDK.
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Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images

A new report from German company Mobilsicher, an outlet dedicated to info on mobile security, has detailed some information about how certain apps share user information with Facebook, BuzzFeed News reports. The group tested the Android version of a number of apps -- including Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, health-related apps like Pregnancy+ and MigraineBuddy as well as religion-focused apps such as Bible+ and Muslim Pro, among others -- and it found that personal information was being collected from those apps via Facebook's SDK. That information could include IP addresses, the app in use, the type of device and users' unique Advertising IDs, info that's transferred as soon as a user opens the app.

Facebook's SDK allows developers to access Facebook Analytics and let their users log in with their Facebook credentials, and Facebook says in its policies that it can collect information through third-party apps that use its SDKs and APIs. Mobilsicher says at least some developers were under the impression that the information Facebook was collecting was anonymized, but even though users' names aren't attached to the data, the use of their Advertising IDs largely renders that a moot point. Mobilsicher says that as long as you've logged into Facebook on your mobile device at least once -- whether that be via a browser or through the Facebook app -- Facebook can link your Advertising ID to your profile.

The findings follow a recent New York Times report that detailed how extensively Facebook shared user data with companies like Apple, Netflix and Spotify, and it's sure to add to the privacy concerns that Facebook has repeatedly stoked over the past year. Facebook's many 2018 privacy infractions include the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a security bug that affected millions of users and a Photo API bug that gave third-party apps access to Facebook users' unposted photos. While maybe not as egregious as some of Facebook's other issues, Mobilsicher's findings highlight, yet again, just how little control users have over their information and what Facebook does with it.

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