Facebook used to collect data on app uninstalls

Anne Freer | October 24, 2019

App Business

Facebook has been monitoring and collecting user data on app deletions, it has emerged.

First reported by Adweek and based on the filings of archived documents by Facebook developers, Facebook did previously track app deletions as part of its analytics package.

Curiously, the tracking activities weren’t restricted to Facebook users.

By collecting data on app deletions, Facebook had hoped to provide additional targeting options for app marketers and app developers.
Facebook’s SDK does track app installations of course, but collecting data on uninstalls appears to violate Apple and Google app store regulations.

One source told Adweek:

“From a user perspective, if I stopped using some product, I certainly expect that maybe the company whose product I’m using would know that I’m no longer their customer, but I certainly wouldn’t expect some third party like Facebook that I don’t even know is in the mix to get information about that.”

Facebook has since stopped using its app-uninstall tracker.

The social network is not the only company to track uninstalls. According to Bloomberg, several ad tech providers such as Adjust, AppsFlyer, MoEngage, Localytics, and CleverTap have previously provided app uninstall tracking.

However, many experts consider the practice of tracking users who uninstall an app “sketchy” at best and have called for Google and Apple to monitor and delete such products or apps.

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