Facebook is currently in hot water with dozens of US states that are suing the social media giant for allegedly endangering young users, violating their privacy, and collecting too much of their data. And this week, new research revealed the extent of the problem. According to privacy research group Arrka, Facebook is the second-worst offender in the tech industry, collecting 22 percent of the data from children’s apps. The leader in the clubhouse, Google, collects 33 percent.
The study looked at 60 children’s Android apps across nine categories, including games, edtech, school, and childcare. Disturbingly, the researchers found that about two-thirds of childcare and edtech apps access children’s exact location, and as many as 80 percent of children’s apps had analytics trackers embedded. And while more countries around the world are passing legislation to rein in Facebook’s data collection, researchers say there is still much to be done to protect children’s info.
“On one hand, we have been seeing the increased focus on children’s privacy worldwide with several regulations kicking in over the last year. On the other, we have been seeing — with alarm — the kind of personal data of children being processed around us, without any guardrails per se,” said Shivangi Nadkarni, cofounder and CEO of Arrka.
Thankfully, with more attention being drawn to this issue seemingly every day, Facebook may finally be forced to take stronger measures to safeguard children’s data soon.
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