Apps offering mental health and therapy services (such as Talk Space and Better Help) are sharing intimate and personal details with companies such as Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
The data includes answers on assessment questionnaires, age, gender, sexual orientation, and metadata around app-based sessions. This data can include how long a session was, the time of day it took place, and where the user was during the session. However, the contents of the sessions remained private.
Much of the data-sharing was via Mixpanel, a widely used analytics company many apps use to obtain information about how users interact with a company’s app. Since most apps use Facebook for a number of purposes (communications, user verification, deeper integrations), Mixpanel is known to share a lot of user data with Facebook and other companies.
While the apps maintain that they are concerned about their patient’s privacy and not trying to monetize or sell user data, the wide use of these kinds of third-parties make it difficult to ensure other companies won’t get their hands on the data and potentially misuse it.
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