Belarusian app Flo caught sending user data to Facebook

Photo from open sources
Photo from open sources

Flo, a mobile app for women created by Belarusian developers was caught sending information about the menstrual cycle of its users to Facebook. According to a study by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook could receive sensitive information from special applications, even if you do not have an account in this social network.

Facebook has been caught receiving user data before. In January 2019, it paid young people to install an app that would allow the company to collect information about their calls and browsing statistics. After that, Apple deprived Facebook of some permissions and claimed a violation.

Recently, testers checked 70 popular applications and discovered that at least 11 of them sent personal user information to Facebook. Among these applications, besides Flo, was an app for finding housing and another for monitoring human heart activity.

There is an analytical service within Facebook that helps application developers to understand the their users' preferences, writes

Flo: Smart Period Tracker is one of the most successful apps developed by Belarusians in history. The Flo CEO is a Minsk-based entrepreneur and investor Dmitry Hursky, while the Russian top model Natalya Vodyanova took part in the app's advertising campaign. According to the company's website, the application is used daily by 25 million people, and in total it has been downloaded more than 75 million times.

Flo developers have already announced that they have restricted the use of external analytical programs and have released updates for iOS and Android, which will not send user information to any external analytical systems, including Facebook Analytics.

An official comment on behalf of Flo was given by the company's CTO Raman Buhayeu:

“Flo has never sold any data to Facebook and has never used it to show ads. Like many other mobile app developers, we used Facebook Analytics to provide the best possible experience for users. Any use of such tools is intended only for internal purposes and only to improve the functionality of the application."