How Tinder, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Bumble could leak even more Facebook Data than Trump’s Consulting Firm Cambridge Analytica

The data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump get elected president” was suspended from accessing Facebook’s Ads platform this weekend. The penalty was not because their data was stolen from Facebook, but because they “paid to acquire the personal information through an outside researcher“. In 2015, a Cambridge University researcher used features of Facebook’s platform to get 270,000 users to surrender the data of 50 million total users, simply by quietly asking for permission to access the information of their “friends”. The only reason this data violated their terms of service was that the data was illicitly transferred from the researcher to Cambridge Analytica (unrelated to the university).

It is true that Facebook no longer allows apps to request that you hand over the likes, photos, and location of your friends, but a relevant current question is this: In 2018, are there Facebook-connected apps that could leak even more personal data than Cambridge Analytica acquired? That answer seems to be a resounding yes. While the permissions are tightened, the growth of mobile apps and social sign-in have grown as well.

Here are 4 popular apps (and there are certainly many more) that need to be very clear with users how their data is being protected and how it will be used in the future:

1. Tinder – 100+ million users at risk

This online-dating juggernaut understandable asks you to login with Facebook to establish your identity, and uses your friends , photos, and “likes” to match you with potential interests. If you grants these permissions even once, any of these apps can collect all of this data, forever, until you disconnect the app. Tinder is owned by media conglomerate IAC, which gives it ample temptation to use this user data to sell ad targeting similar to Trump and Cambridge Analytica.

2. Airbnb – 90+ million users at risk

Travel bookings site Airbnb also uses social logins to help establish your identity to keep you safe. They ask for access to your photos to help you share details of your trips, and likely use your interests to try and help you find lodging. Airbnb has no obvious reasons to misuse this data, but they clearly have access to a lot, and if they were hacked, or acquired by a more diversified company, that story could change.

3. TripAdvisor – 70+ million users at risk

This travel review mainstay also asks for permanent access to your likes and photos. Similar to Tinder, they are owned by Liberty Media, which owns everything from Sports teams to SiriusXM Radio to 1/3 of LiveNation/Ticketmaster. This is a tremendous amount of data to protect against external threats as well as internal temptations to monetize this data for advertisers.

4. Bumble – 27 million users at risk

A rising star in the online dating space, Bumble has the same reasonable reasons to ask for “likes” and photos as Tinder, and the same challenges. Bumble is majority-owned by Badoo & their owner, “secretive Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev“. Considering the ongoing concerns about Russia’s interest in using social media data to target ads and influence elections, this site’s rapidly growing dataset is interesting, especially since it sits further away from the reach of U.S. regulation.

Now What?

This is a challenging situation. We all want our apps to be easy to use, and to have access to details of our lives that improve the app experience. Most of us don’t even mind if some personal data is used to show us ads we like instead of ads we don’t like.

A few next steps that could help this situation:

  • Apps using these permissions should make their intentions abundantly clear. Will this data be used for anything other than directly serving user needs within the app? Should the platforms even allow that? Could they prevent it with certainty?
  • Facebook and similar sites should consider adopting less permanent access, where users who haven’t visited the site recently are not still subjects of data harvesting
  • Less “friendly” permissions processes. It’s extremely easy right now to give an app nearly-permanent access to every picture or interest you ever post to Facebook. Now that image recognition is cheap and easy, this is data is too revealing to be granted trivially.

For Media Inquiries about Facebook Advertising Strategy around the U.S. Presidential Election and other Advanced Digital Marketing Tactics and Measurement, please contact Rob Kischuk at 404.663.9945rob@convergehq.com, or @rkischuk / @GetConverge

As a Marketing Reporting Automation and Analytics company, Converge is committed to responsible and ethical data collection practices that protect the privacy of individuals and the data policies of the data sources we connect to.

(Methodology: in the case of Bumble and Tinder, since these apps require social login, actual total app downloads were used. In other cases, we used March 2018 actual Monthly Active Users, and assumed at least 2/3 user attrition over the past 90 days)

Why Russia’s Facebook Election Ads Were So Effective

The Washington Post has confirmed that Russian operatives used Facebook Custom Audiences to hyper-efficiently target Ads on Facebook. CNN further confirms that these groups specifically targeted swing states including Wisconsin and Michigan, which President Trump won by less than 1%. Continue reading “Why Russia’s Facebook Election Ads Were So Effective”

Don’t Let Data Break Your Heart

Trustworthy   

Honest

Reliable

Just some of the qualities you might be looking for in the person you spend your Valentines Day with but also qualities you should be looking for in your marketing data and data platform.

giphy.com

I know your list might include a few more things than that for your significant other and/or your marketing dashboard but if you think about it- those are some good building blocks to either relationship.

You put a lot of trust into your marketing data. You use it to make some important business decisions, to quantify goals and prove ROI within your marketing department. You need to ensure it is as accurate as possible! Just because it might be telling you what you want to hear does not mean that it is working like it should.

Now, I am not saying you have to go all PI on your marketing data (or your date) but below are 5 things you can easily start doing to ensure data accuracy is not a problem. Continue reading “Don’t Let Data Break Your Heart”

3 Reasons Why You Need To Download Our E-book, Measurement In Action

Still struggling with data-driven marketing? Thinking about investing in a new technology to make it easier? Worried about the mistakes you might make?

Well, we have created an e-book just for you! Our e-book is focused on all the above and centers around creating a data-driven culture within your marketing team. Continue reading “3 Reasons Why You Need To Download Our E-book, Measurement In Action”

How Marketers Can Help CMOs Overcome These 3 Common Worries

With tight budgets, seemingly endless lists of goals and not to mention the mountain of expectations, CMOs are looking to balance the art of creativity and data-driven marketing. And you, as marketers, can help.

With the rise of measurement marketing technologies, the increased use of digital marketing and the availability of data, it is (or should be) easier than ever to track results and help deliver on those expectations.

(Psst- don’t have time to read the whole post? Download our quick reference guide here or get the entire guide emailed to you here.)

Continue reading “How Marketers Can Help CMOs Overcome These 3 Common Worries”

How To Create A Data Plan

If you are not utilizing data-driven marketing within your business (yet) the task can seem overwhelming and nearly impossible to implement.

How will you change everything now that you are this far into it Continue reading “How To Create A Data Plan”

4 Things That Could Go Wrong With Marketing Measurement

Organizations are still measuring their success in marketing wrong. The roller coaster ride of data-driven marketing is just that- rocky, with unexpected twists and turns, big buildups that lead to large drops and when it is done incorrectly it can come to an abrupt stop.

There are plenty of organizations and marketing teams successfully using marketing data to make better business decisions but there are also still people who are using metrics incorrectly. Below are 4 things to avoid when it comes to marketing measurement. Continue reading “4 Things That Could Go Wrong With Marketing Measurement”

Building A Data-Driven Culture

Maybe, one of the most important evolutions in marketing is the ability to understand what data you have, how to organize it and, ultimately, how to use it to your advantage.

The practice of gathering and generating insights from data to inform your marketing strategy has become commonplace for some marketers. However, for many organizations, there is still room for improvement in turning intelligence into actionable insights and committing to using data-driven decision making. Continue reading “Building A Data-Driven Culture”

How Data & Marketing Technology Have Affected PR

Do you think the use of data and marketing technology has reshaped the PR profession?

I do.

You probably can’t remember the last AD you saw on TV but you could probably tell me about the last few articles you read and the content that is being shared by friends on social media. PR has become so much more thanks to digital marketing channels and the marketing technology that makes the data behind those efforts available. Continue reading “How Data & Marketing Technology Have Affected PR”

4 Mistakes To Avoid When Using Data-Driven Marketing

Have you ever spent a lot of time analyzing your marketing data- only to realize you were doing it wrong? Or is not knowing what to analyze keeping you from looking at data in the first place?

Using data to steer marketing decisions, strategies and goals is not easy. 91% of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data to drive marketing decisions. Yet, 39% say their own company’s data is collected too infrequently or not real-time enough. See, we all know we need to be doing but we aren’t always doing it right. Continue reading “4 Mistakes To Avoid When Using Data-Driven Marketing”