Being on social media in 2023 is a non-negotiable which, unfortunately, comes at the price of a sizeable chunk of your private data.
For the most part, we’re not exactly sure what these companies want with our personal data — only that it’s probably vaguely nefarious. Now, a new study has shown exactly which companies are harvesting the most personal information from their users.
Indian Blockchain company The Money Mongers has released a new survey of the top 100 most popular apps to reveal which ones collect the most personal data.
They found that just over half of those companies share their users’ data with third parties and that nearly three-quarters collect data for their own benefit.
Apps that are geared towards shopping appear to be most likely to collect and share their users’ data, with 84% of the apps surveyed doing so. Among social networking apps, that figure was 62%.
The study was conducted on the top 100 most downloaded apps on the apple App Store. data was compared between third-party sharing and developers’ advertising and marketing fine print, with a 14-point scoring system calculated.
Scores were assigned using points given to things like purchase information, location data, contact information, financial details, health & fitness measurements and more.
The survey found that your contact information is the number one metric companies go for, with 92% of those surveyed collecting it. It’s useful, they say, for internal markietng purposes as well as being able to share that information with third-party advertisers.
Interestingly, it is Meta that came out on top as the most “data-hungry” company. Its apps, including Instagram, Facebook, Threads, and Messenger, collect 86% of a user’s digital information, substantially more than its competitors. Twitter, or ‘X’, collected just 50%, while Google collects 43%.
Previous reports have shown that Meta’s Threads app collects a significant amount of personal data about its users. The company has made it impossible to delete your Threads account entirely unless you also delete your Instagram account.
The phrase ‘if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product’ has come to represent people’s relationship with large social media companies whose primary business model is harvesting data while capturing attention, both of which can be sold to advertisers.
Another recent survey found that just 38% of social media users actually trust these companies with their personal data but continue to use them because of the convenience of doing so.