Some app developers have sent sensitive personal information, including the location of users, their heart rates and timing of their ovulation cycles, to Facebook. The Wall Street Journal examined 70 popular apps and found at least 11 of them sent sensitive information they collected to Facebook, even if users were not Facebook members or logged into the service. Facebook said the apps violated its business terms and that it is has asked the company’s behind them to put a halt to the information sharing.
While Facebook may not have direct control over what developers are doing with data or what data it is sent, the incident is another sign of the difficulty the company has controlling the ecosystem of data collection around it. The special sensitivity and regulations around health data will almost certainly intensify the scrutiny of regulators looking at the company. Some of that has already started, with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo calling on two state agencies to investigate.