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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new study says Facebook and dating apps collect the most personal information about users, though a wide range of apps are collecting more data than one would expect.

Why it matters: It's not always intuitive which apps are grabbing data. And even when a site or app doesn't explicitly collect a piece of information, it can still infer that information from other data it does collect.

By the numbers: The study, conducted by London-based cybersecurity firm Clario, found that Facebook collects more than 70% of all the information it can legally collect. Second on the list is Facebook's Instagram app, which collects more than 58% of all available data — including info like hobbies, height, weight and sexual orientation.

  • The next most grabby services were dating apps Tinder and Grindr, with Tinder collecting 56% of such info, including the details you'd expect a dating site to know, but also stuff you might not think of, such as whether you own a pet.
  • Retail sites, even Amazon, explicitly collected less info than many other apps. But of course, they get lots of data from what you browse and buy — information they can use to infer all kinds of other data.

Between the lines: Some data makes sense when collected by one app, but less so for other types of programs. For example, it’s not surprising that exercise companies collect information on a person’s weight — but Instagram does, too.

What they’re saying: “It’s no secret that companies trade in their users’ data,” Clario CIO Alex Maklakov said in a statement.

  • “We’re all guilty of accepting the terms and conditions without perhaps reading them as closely as we should. But we want everyone to know what information apps are taking from and storing on their customers so that people can feel in control online.”

Methodology: Clario said it looked at 48 popular apps across various sectors and ascertains which permissions they asked consumers for in their terms and conditions and privacy agreements.

  • Clario then ranked the companies based on 34 different data points.

Yes, but: Terms of service reserve the right to collect data, but users don’t always provide it and companies don’t always collect everything they say they might.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Food delivery demand soared in the Twin Cities in 2020

Data: Second Measure; Chart: Axios Visuals

Local spending on food delivery spiked in 2020 compared with 2018 sales, according to consumer data analytics company Second Measure.

Behind the numbers: Delivery and takeout have been a lifeline for restaurants during pandemic closures, but complaints about the cost of using the popular services have prompted Minneapolis, St. Paul and Edina to temporarily cap the fees apps charge restaurants.

2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter to label COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, implement strike policy

Photo: Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday that it will label tweets with potentially misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, and introduce a strike system that can lead to permanent account suspension.

The big picture: Tech companies are taking an increasingly aggressive stance against users who attempt to share misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump, Melania received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  3. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  5. World: Italy tightens restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants — PA announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge.
  6. Local: Colorado sets timeline for return to normalcy.