Threads App Rapid Rise and Data Collection Controversy
On July 6, Meta launched its Twitter clone app, Threads, and the response has been nothing short of astounding. Within a mere five days, the app managed to amass an impressive 100 million users, setting a remarkable pace in the world of social media.
Data Collection in the Spotlight
However, this meteoric rise is now accompanied by scrutiny over the app’s data collection practices. Recent revelations indicate that Threads App collects a staggering 50% more personal data compared to its counterpart, formerly known as Twitter and now referred to as App X.
Privacy Concerns Amplified
The gravity of these findings is magnified in the context of the ongoing debate surrounding data privacy. A cybersecurity firm named Home Security Heroes conducted a survey that unveiled disconcerting trends. Both Threads and Instagram were identified as the weakest social media platforms in safeguarding user privacy.
Meta’s Data Collection Accusations
Meta, the parent company of Threads, faced allegations of aggressive data collection for advertising and marketing purposes. Their data acquisition practices reportedly encompass a staggering 86% of tracked personal information.
Worst Performers in Privacy
The report highlighted that following Instagram and Threads, Russian social media site VKontakte, Facebook, Messenger, Line, and App X ranked consecutively as platforms with subpar privacy protection. Interestingly, the image and video hosting site Flickr emerged as the safest option, refraining from collecting any user data.
Intricacies of Data Collected
Threads goes beyond merely gathering generic information. The app’s data collection extends to financial data, potentially including sensitive details like payment card numbers, credit scores, and even users’ salaries. It doesn’t stop there; Threads also taps into the user’s contact list from their phone’s Contacts app.
The Catalog of Collected Data
The extensive range of personal data amassed by Threads spans across 12 categories, encompassing Contact Information, Financial Information, Location, Contacts, Identifiers, Usage Data, Browsing History, Search History, Purchases, Diagnostics, User Content, and Other Data.
Insights from Privacy Labels
Home Security Heroes employed privacy labels on the App Store to gauge the extent of personal data collection by various social media platforms. By quantifying the number of privacy labels out of 14, the researchers were able to discern the degree of data monitoring.
User Empowerment and Caution
Brandon King, the CEO of Home Security Heroes, emphasized the importance of user vigilance in an era dominated by data sharing. King recommended minimizing location sharing, exercising caution on public Wi-Fi networks, and conducting regular reviews of privacy settings.
As the digital landscape evolves, the balance between app functionality and user privacy remains a pressing concern. The case of Threads underscores the need for conscientious data practices and the responsibility of platforms to prioritize their users’ information security.