Are you using the ‘Most Used Words’ Facebook app? It’s a ‘privacy nightmare’

Posted at 1:28 PM, Nov 24, 2015

Are you one of 17 million Facebook users using the “Most Used Words” wordcloud Facebook app? If so, you may want to delete the app as soon as possible.

According to Comparitech, a tech comparison and review website, the popular app is a “privacy nightmare.”

The app reportedly scans all posts in 2015 and is “harvesting a tranche” of personal information. Comparitech says app users must elect to “give up almost every private detail” about themselves to use the app.

Here’s a list of everything the app requests access to:

    • Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public info
    • Entire friend list
    • Everything you’ve ever posted on your timeline
    • All of your photos and photos you’re tagged in
    • Education history
    • Hometown and current city
    • Everything you’ve ever liked
    • IP address
    • Info about the device you’re using including browser and language

The app’s policy says information gathered can be stored on servers “any location” in the world, meaning your personal data may not have the same privacy protections common in the U.S. if stored on servers in another country.

More bad news? The privacy policy says Vonvon, the creator of the app, can use “any non-personally-identifying information” provided by the user even after deleting the app.

[…] you acknowledge and agree that We may continue to use any non-personally-identifying information in accordance with this Privacy Policy (e.g., for the purpose of analysis, statistics and the like) also after the termination of your membership to this WebSite and\or use of our services, for any reason whatsoever.

Vonvon can also sell your data to another company. What’s the workaround? This line in their privacy policy:

[…] We do not share your Personal Information with third parties unless We have received your permission to do so, or given you notice thereof (such as by telling you about it in this Privacy Policy) […]

Vonvon has not commented publicly after the Comparitech report was published on Sunday.

How to protect yourself

Before installing a Facebook app, be sure to review the privacy policy and information that can be accessed by the application. If you have hesitations, don’t accept the agreement.

If you do choose to install an app, you can click on “Edit the info you provide” link when installing an app.

How to remove the “Most Used Words” app:

On desktop:
Click the upside down arrow in the top right > Settings > Click on apps > Edit settings/remove apps as needed.

Using the Facebook mobile app:
Click on the “more” menu > Settings > Account Settings > Apps > Click “Logged in with Facebook > Edit settings/remove apps as needed.