TRACKERS allow ad services to follow users around the web to learn about their browsing habits.
According to the recent findings by the Atlas VPN team, YouTube and TikTok have the most trackers among social media apps. In addition, applications in the magazine, news, and sports categories tend to have the most first and third-party trackers.
The YouTube application has 14 trackers in total, 10 first-party and 4 third-party contacts. On the other hand, TikTok app trackers are more concerning as 13 out of 14 are third-party network contacts.
Twitter and Telegram each have 9 trackers in their iOS applications. However, all 9 contacts in Telegram lead to third-party domains, while the Twitter app tracks users with 6 third-party and 3 first-party contacts.
On average, social media apps have 6 trackers, of which 4 are third-party, and 2 are first-party contacts. Not logging into the app’s services contributed to fewer trackers on social media applications.
Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on third-party trackers:
“Internet users are starting to care more and more about their privacy, which challenges app developers to engage customers using first-party data strategies and tools. Currently, customers cannot see what data is being shared with third-party trackers or how their data will be used, creating a lack of transparency between the brand and the consumer.”
Magazine and news apps filled with trackers
Even with minimal app use, users are faced with plenty of third-party trackers that collect personal data without consumer permission.
Magazine applications averaged 28 trackers, of which 26 belong to third-party network contacts. The Wall Street Journal app made 48 total trackers, the most of any magazine app.
News apps averaged 23 trackers, of which 21 lead to third-party network connections. CNN application tracks their readers with 34 total trackers. Washington Post and NBC News apps are not far behind, with 31 and 26 contacts each.
Sports applications follow next as they averaged 22 trackers, of which 18 collect information for third-party contacts. ESPN app has 35 third-party trackers and 42 total.
Music apps averaged 21 trackers, of which 17 belong to third-party network connections. iHeart: Radio application made 56 contacts, with 51 being to third-party networks, which is the most among all apps analyzed in the research.