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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.

14 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

15 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."