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App Privacy Labels Reveal the Astounding Amount of Data Facebook Messenger Collects Compared to iMessage And Other Messaging Apps

App Privacy Labels Reveal the Astounding Amount of Data Facebook Messenger Collects Compared to iMessage And Other Messaging Apps

Apple’s new App Store app privacy labels went live in the App Store in December, revealing the data collected by an app. All apps are required to list what data is collected to track you, and what data is connected to your identity.

By taking a look at what data is collected by four popular messaging apps, we can see some huge differences in what is collected by Signal, Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. We can also see why Facebook was so ticked off at Apple’s new privacy label requirements.

App privacy labels for messaging apps

Forbes compared the four popular messaging apps, listing what each collects. (The above image is via Forbes.)

Signal

None. (Signal stores your phone number, but makes no attempt to link that to your identity.)

iMessage

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Search history
  • Device ID

WhatsApp

  • Device ID
  • User ID
  • Advertising Data
  • Purchase History
  • Coarse Location
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Contacts
  • Product Interaction
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
  • Payment Info
  • Customer Support
  • Product Interaction
  • Other User Content

Facebook Messenger

Now, take a deep breath and view what Facebook Messenger collects.

Third-Party Advertising

PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Photos or Videos
  • Gameplay Content
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

Developer’s Advertising or Marketing

PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Photos or Videos
  • Gameplay Content
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

Analytics

HEALTH & FITNESS
  • Health
  • Fitness
PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Payment Info
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Photos or Videos
  • Audio Data
  • Gameplay Content
  • Customer Support
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
SENSITIVE INFO
  • Sensitive Info
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

Product Personalization

PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Photos or Videos
  • Gameplay Content
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
SENSITIVE INFO
  • Sensitive Info
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

App Functionality

HEALTH & FITNESS
  • Health
  • Fitness
PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Payment Info
  • Credit Info
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Emails or Text Messages
  • Photos or Videos
  • Audio Data
  • Gameplay Content
  • Customer Support
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
SENSITIVE INFO
  • Sensitive Info
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

Other Purposes

PURCHASES
  • Purchase History
FINANCIAL INFO
  • Other Financial Info
LOCATION
  • Precise Location
  • Coarse Location
CONTACT INFO
  • Physical Address
  • Email Address
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Other User Contact Info
CONTACTS
  • Contacts
USER CONTENT
  • Photos or Videos
  • Gameplay Content
  • Customer Support
  • Other User Content
SEARCH HISTORY
  • Search History
BROWSING HISTORY
  • Browsing History
IDENTIFIERS
  • User ID
  • Device ID
USAGE DATA
  • Product Interaction
  • Advertising Data
  • Other Usage Data
DIAGNOSTICS
  • Crash Data
  • Performance Data
  • Other Diagnostic Data
OTHER DATA
  • Other Data Types

Wow! Just, wow!

As noted by 9to5Mac, it is uncertain that users will actually read the app privacy labels. But at least we know what Facebook was so worried about.

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