No wonder Facebook is angry with Apple’s efforts to increase transparency in data exchange. SurfShark, a cybersecurity company, analyzed iOS apps to determine which platforms are snatching the most data from users. Investigators found that, apart from WhatsApp, Facebook’s most popular apps are the most data hungry.
On the positive side, users will breathe a sigh of relief when they hear that web browsers collect the least amount of information about users – and that some Internet crawlers collect nothing at all.
Facebook’s own apps collect most of the data
According to the SurfShark study, the Facebook app, Messenger and Instagram are the three most data-hungry iOS platforms. This is expected; Facebook was at the end of the backlash from data protection officers blaming the social media giant for breaking into users’ personal digital space.
Surfshark discovered that Facebook’s own apps track users’ contact information, health and fitness data, search history, location, and even sensitive information like financial information.
The cybersecurity firm also analyzed iOS apps in 17 categories: messaging, social media, payments, shopping, food delivery, streaming, dating, flight booking and navigation, personal finance, email, period tracker, pregnancy tracker, cryptocurrency, photo editing, children , Browser and weather.
Unsurprisingly, the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger list the first two as the most data hungry. Cisco Webex Meetings is the least data hungry for the messaging category, while Clubhouse takes that throne for the social media column.
Here is a breakdown of SurfShark’s results (the most data hungry app is on the left and the least data hungry app is on the right):
As mentioned earlier, SurfShark has found that web browsers collect the least amount of data from users. However, it is not surprising that of all iOS internet crawlers, Google Chrome is the most data hungry. If you’re looking for a browser that won’t collect anything from you at all, consider the privacy web browser app.
The top three app categories that collect the most data are social media, food delivery, and shopping. Facebook of course takes the crown in the first category as the top data guzzler, while Door Dash and Amazon Shopping take the throne for the other two.
If this concerns you, don’t worry. SurfShark has developed an interactive tool that allows iOS users to see which app is the least likely to violate user privacy. You can filter iOS apps by category and find the best platform for your security needs.
SurfShark investigators say we can stop Big Tech from collecting our data by charging them for it. “At the very least,” said SurfShark, “it would highlight the real value of our data – and make developers think twice before asking for it.”