U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 15 mins

Menstruation apps accused of sharing data about users' sex lives with Facebook

Mike Wright
One of the companies named in the Privacy International investigation said it had since changed its privacy policies - Getty Images Contributor

A number of menstruation apps have been accused of sharing sensitive information on users sex lives with Facebook, following an investigation by a UK privacy charity.

Privacy International said it had discovered a number of apps that were sending data including the timing of women’s period and the types of contraception they used to the tech giant.

The sharing took place through Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of tools that let app makers build features and share ads. However, the software can also send information users share in the apps back to Facebook.

Privacy International investigated a number of menstruation apps, which are often used by women to learn the times they are most likely to conceive, and found most of the major ones did not share sensitive information.

However, the charity named two apps which it said regularly sent intimate information to Facebook, Maya, made by Indian company Plackal Tech and MIA Fem, which is owned by a Cyprus-based company Mobapp Development Limited. Between them the apps have more than seven million users.

A spokesman for Privacy International said: "The wide reach of the apps that our research has looked at might mean that intimate details of the private lives of millions of users across the world are shared with Facebook and other third parties without those users’ free, unambiguous and informed or explicit consent, in the case of special-category (sensitive) personal data, such as data relating to a user's health or sex life."

Following the the investigation, Plackal Tech said it was removing SDK features from its app and would only use its ad service for users who consented.

MIA told Privacy International it did not wish to have their response published. The Telegraph has contacted the company directly.

 A spokesman for Facebook said: “Our terms of service prohibit developers from sending us sensitive health information and we enforce against them when we learn they are.”