https://www.duolingo.com/Multitaal

Duolingo Android app shares data with Facebook without consent!

Multitaal
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This is very worrying. This new report How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook by Privacy International came out two days ago. About apps that share data with Facebook even when you don't have a Facebook account or are not logged in.

We found that at least 61 percent of apps we tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app. This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not.

https://privacyinternational.org/report/2647/how-apps-android-share-data-facebook-report

And Duolingo is one of these apps!
test results Duolingo

I had just installed the app for the first time so now I'm removing it.

2 weeks ago

112 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/mwbrand1
mwbrand1
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In my opinion, Facebook is an abomination that should be wiped from the planet. It has definitely caused more harm than good. I'm saddened to learn that Duolingo is willing to work with this unethical company.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WinterSoldier.

@mwbrand1, I feel facebook should be broken up, its a monopoly and has about 2 billion users, that means of the roughly 7 billion people on the planet 2 billion have facebook, its also notorious for blocking certain groups, and allowing other groups, plus its a waste of time, and consumes people to the point of depression. Get rid of facebook and things might be better

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guaybana_elBravo
Guaybana_elBravoPlus
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I will first go on record and say I loathe Facebook. It should be brought down and its servers physically destroyed beyond the point of being able to recover any data. That being said, this is as naïve as wishing the combustion of fossil fuels never happened so global warming, which is not a worldwide conspiracy or hoax, would not be upon us. The Facebooks, the Googles, the Cambridge Analyticas and the like are not the problem. They exploit the real problem.

Facebook did not get into a booth and voted for anybody. Nor has it made climate change any more or less real. Take just these two examples (for the sake of post length) and consider that it has been the inability to apply critical thinking to what is available in social (and regular) media that make people act on inaccurate, misleading and downright false information. If on top of that, we are posting the most minute detail of our lives on social media, we are practically spoon feeding Big Brother how and with what to manipulate us.

Foreign powers (the US included) have influenced elections in a number of ways, including bribery, vote rigging and military duress long before the days of Facebook. Election manipulation was born with elections themselves. Social (and again, regular) media manipulation is just one more element. However, for this new electronic element, education and critical thinking is an effective defense, but ultimately, up to each individual to make it work.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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I agree with you in general, however, FB and Co. and also YouTube (I just read an article how videos by flat-earthers for instance could gain so much traction on YT and convince more and more people that the earth is flat) use algorithms to filter content that attracts the highest number of viewers, links, re-tweets etc. They know that these often are posts or videos with rather dubious or “scandalous” content but they and the advertisers make money from them. So they make sure they reach an ever wider audience and put money above ethics.

Without these sites actively spreading this nonsense (maybe they even create some of these posts and videos themselves?) things might look at least slightly different. These companies created monsters without accepting responsibility for any consequences. And on top of that, they are knowingly working together with all kinds of groups that abuse the personal information users entrust them with. This is something you cannot blame the users for, it’s the companies that need to be held responsible.

Of course, countries, parties, companies, etc. have influenced or tried to influence elections or opinions before, but the social media companies reach far more people than was ever before possible.

It’s not OK to simply accept this as “business as usual”.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guaybana_elBravo
Guaybana_elBravoPlus
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I agree, this is not ok. I am not excusing it nor agreeing with it or arguing it is ethical. However, this is fueled by supply and demand, a basic tenet of capitalism which, as its name suggests, revolves around capital (aka money) and not ethics.

The reason flat-earthers and other ignorants spread stupidity while making hosting sites money as you very well point out is because people will clic and watch their crap. Others take this sort of stupidity one step further and like and share. Ignorance allows this to happen. It creates this demand, which someone will quickly exploit. If we cut the demand for this idiocy because people actually know that the Earth has been proven round centuries ago, no one will make money from this content. No demand, no supply. I use the flat-earthers to follow your example, but this holds for pretty much everything out there. And this is my point, the average person out there, unfortunately, cannot tell what is what for lack of education and critical thinking. In the digital age, this is more critical than ever.

And even then, there will still be unscrupulous people trying to make a quick buck.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bob987768

so you are seriously going on the record stating you believe in global warming? I'm a scientist, studied water environments at Monash for eight years, biggest con ever manufactured, no i am wrong, the so called ozone hole would take that trophy. Don't you understand how this works, you make a problem then hit the goverment for funds to research and prove your theory. Even if you have to twist and manipulate facts to prove your point. (Ozone Hole) Have some good friends studying this warming theory under several departments making a very nice living out of it, thank you very much. Oh by the way lets feed the silly media sensational clap trap, like do they ever get it right? It seems they have to drag out a cause every 10-15yrs to give the naive populous something to focus on. They have been doing it for 70 yrs now, some people never learn.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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studied water environments at Monash for eight years

Hi, I live in Monash. We have a few lakes here, I went to each and every lake in Monash and in all of them there were only Black swans. I've counted at least 1000 swans, every single one of them completely black, that's 100 % ! Thus obviously all swans on Earth are black, don't believe the hoax that white swans exist!

I'm no statistician, yet, but the odds of not seeing a significant change over the course of 8 years in a single area isn't all that slim... That's even assuming you actually took year round measurements and analysed the data. Not even to mention that a period of 8 years is quite a small window to examine changes in temperatures, if year 1 is unusually warm and 8 unusually cold it can already be RIP data. Take 100 random series of measurements over 50 years from areas that do show a significant warming across those 50 years and I bet you that for at least half of them I can cut out 8 years across which no significant increase in temperature can be found. That's why global warming is often described globally or over larger regions, plus across many years rather than within a rather limited time span in a single area.

No offensive, but the "scientist" part is difficult to believe when you present 8 years of local measurements as being representative. Generalizability is like the core principle behind any scientific study.

And even if climate change wasn't real: those annoying people with their solar panels that prevent us from getting some China-style smog, they should be jailed! Green energy will / already has become cheaper than polluting fossil fuels, thus even IF climate change isn't real, what's the big harm in taking measures that mainly have positive consequences?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BLRT2000
BLRT2000
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Since we're on a language-learning site and you're taking such a controversial stance, I would think you'd learn to speak English before posting. But no.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/01LearnFrench01
01LearnFrench01
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The Facebook Dilemma, (full film) | FRONTLINE:

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken482461
Ken482461
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Thanks. This weekend I am going to look at this film.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheNecromancer10

In my opinion, Facebook is an abomination that should be wiped from the planet. It has definitely caused more harm than good. I'm saddened to learn that Duolingo is willing to work with this unethical company.

I'm out of the loop on this. What has Facebook been doing?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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  • Allowing Russia and Russian bots to manipulate public opinion, to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories and artificially trending specific topics

  • allowing Cambridge Analytica to abuse FB user information for right-wing propaganda

See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica

  • not stopping hate groups all over the world from spreading their hate via FB and e.g. Inciting genocide in Myanmar

See https://newrepublic.com/article/147486/facebook-genocide-problem (I am not familiar with that particular site so it might be of one flavor or the other, just what I quickly found, but there are other articles out about that, e.g. The NY Times, but you need a subscription to see that.)

  • FB using antisemitic attacks to fight against their critics

See https://www.vox.com/2018/11/14/18096008/facebook-zuckerberg-data-crisis-denial-antisemitism

  • FB selling user data

See https://www.cbsnews.com/news/facebook-gave-some-companies-preferential-user-data-according-to-uk-parliament/

Did I forget anything?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ESK_22

On your comment, I had to scroll down to see all of the things Facebook did wrong. This is ridiculous .

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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Coincidentally Facebook has also in the past received huge investments from state-linked Russians. Guess who owes the Russians a lot of gratitude?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ExSquaredOver2
ExSquaredOver2
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Hah, just like Google collaborating with the Chinese Communist party

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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This is very concerning. It's best to use a browser plugin such as NoScript in order to block connections to Facebook.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Multitaal
Multitaal
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I already use NoScript and Privacy Badger on Firefox.
But the report is about the Android app. On page 16 of the report it says:

End-users with appropriate expertise could manually block graph.facebook.com on the network level (via their router) or even on the device (using a firewall such as AFWall+ or NetGuard). Both these solutions require a level of expertise and understanding as to the implications of making such changes, and also may not fully stop data being sent to Facebook.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheNecromancer10

I believe you meant to say "report" instead of "rapport."

Definition of "rapport" by Google:

a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.

Definition of "report" by Google:

a spoken or written description of an event or situation, especially one intended for publication or broadcast in the media.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Multitaal
Multitaal
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You're right, thank you. My (Dutch) mother tongue took over there. I'll correct it.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ash.Purple

ublock origin is great for PC to block this kind of nonsense. Ghostery is also good.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/01LearnFrench01
01LearnFrench01
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ublock origin

It has a huge user base. I added it to chrome.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

No offense, but the fact you're using Chrome kinda defeats the purpose.

I recommend Firefox with DuckDuckGo search engine, if you actually care about privacy. Here are other options: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCnkfSqw2t4

(As a side note, that guy's YouTube channel is centered around privacy enhancement for any level you'd prefer, so check his other videos out if you're interested in online privacy)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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How exactly is that concerning ? I really don't mind letting anyone know that I downloaded Duolingo's app.

This is absolutely no confidential information...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

It's concerning because they didn't ask you if you minded.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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They did, like any app or website who use cookies. It's in the terms and conditions :

"To support and enhance the Service, we work with a variety of third party advertising networks, marketing analytics service providers and website analysis firms, such as Google, Facebook, Oath, Unity, and Quantcast (collectively, “Third Party Advertising Service Providers”). These Third Party Advertising Service Providers collect and use non-personally identifiable information, such as your mobile device ID, about your visits to and use of the Website and mobile Application, as well as other websites in order to serve you with advertisements and content tailored to meet your preferences and likely interests or better understand ad effectiveness. Aggregate demographic and interest data will also be used for market research purposes."

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

@Nicofiesta

dlhgl commented here that Google Advertisement id can be used to track app usage across different apps. Combining usage data from different apps is personal information because nowadays people can use tens of apps on daily basis. That kind of information can be very specific to one user. I don’t know if usage data from Duolingo is combined with usage data from different apps in cases the user is registered to Facebook or Google (or is unregistered). If usage data is combined then this is quite alarming. What you think?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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@dogomolo I totally agree with you but then it's a matter of trust. Data is the way companies that provide a free service make money through advertising. And they are making huge money out of it. Trust me, this is really not in their interest to mess with user data and combine them and sell them.

If they get caught they will have to pay huge money on fines and they will lose all their users who will stop trusting them. So eventually they will disappear. The only reason they are still here is because people still trust them with their data.

Think of it as when you have a bank account. You trust the bank to keep your money safe. If you don't, and you think the bank might be robbed too easily, then you just stop using it and you keep your money at home.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Yeah, "Facebook Connect" script runs on Duolingo. According to section 4 of the privacy policy:

Information Obtained by Third Parties

To support and enhance the Service, we work with a variety of third party advertising networks, marketing analytics service providers and website analysis firms, such as Google, Facebook, Oath, Unity, and Quantcast (collectively, “Third Party Advertising Service Providers”). These Third Party Advertising Service Providers collect and use non-personally identifiable information, such as your mobile device ID, about your visits to and use of the Website and mobile Application, as well as other websites in order to serve you with advertisements and content tailored to meet your preferences and likely interests or better understand ad effectiveness. Aggregate demographic and interest data will also be used for market research purposes.

I use Firefox so add-ons like Ghostery and UMatrix are great options for blocking trackers. If you care about internet privacy at all, you should have such add-ons added to your browser.

I'm not trying to advertise for these add-ons, as there are simply so many that do the same thing. These two are just ones I use and they work well. If you want full control, use UMatrix:

UMatrix for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/umatrix UMatrix Privacy Policy (doesn't collect any data): https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/umatrix/privacy/ UMatrix Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVozpo3zUBk

If you'd rather take the simpler route, try Ghostery: which uses not only tracker/adblock but also can improve browser performance:

Ghostery for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ghostery/

NOTE ABOUT GHOSTERY : I've seen several people saying that Ghostery serves ads and shares data with third parties. YOU CAN OPT OUT. When you install the add-on, choose custom setup to opt out of Ghostery Rewards and such. They don't collect personal data unless you provide it explicitly, and only collect non-personal data for reasonable interaction (details under section VI here: https://www.ghostery.com/about-ghostery/browser-extension-privacy-policy/ )

If you don't want to use these ones or have something against using Firefox, I'm sure with a little research you can find similar extensions for your browser.

Screenshots of add-ons on Duolingo: https://postimg.cc/47YVDRg2 https://postimg.cc/7CWTMt23

EDIT : I once disabled all my add-ons for Duolingo, and Firefox warned me that it was still using its built-in tracking protection to keep Duo from snooping on my other tabs, browsing history, etc. Guess Duo couldn't be happy with just showing me ads.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FaizalZahid
FaizalZahid
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I use Vivaldi browser and installed DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials. Will that work too?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is great and I use it with my Firefox too. Would recommend using it with others even.

Weird, I just checked the Duolingo home page with it though and while it picks up Google and Quant, it fails to see Facebook... :/

This is why having multiple layers of protection is great.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FaizalZahid
FaizalZahid
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Ah, thank you! Hmmm...Duolingo doesn't notify me that you replied. Manually checked back :(

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Glad to help. I've been doing a lot of research into online privacy and while at the end of the day you should just assume someone out there knows what you did online that day, there are ways to limit how much they can collect and how expensive it is to spy on you.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

Duolingo has been transparent by telling that Facebook can obtain non-personally identifiable information, like when and how regularly the app is used. I think our discussion should focus on if non-personally identifiable information is only gathered and not anything else.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HN701
HN701
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Technically under certain conditions Facebook could also identify the person. For example if one has WhatsApp or messenger installed. It would be relatively simple to match the ip-address and figure out who exactly is doing what on duolingo.....

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dlhgl
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They don't even need the IP address for that. The Google advertising ID (a unique identifier assigned to your device) is transmitted together with the data as you can see in the examples. This way, data from different apps can be combined. And as soon as one of these apps transmits personally identifiable information, this can also be combined with the data Facebook collected from all these apps.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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And why would they do that ? Facebook has data from millions of apps and companies, why would they look at a single individual data ?

The power of data is to aggregate huge volumes of data, not go after every single people's life.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HN701
HN701
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FB itself probably wouldn’t care much about personal data. They could however sell the bulk data on the market. A third party could then use that data any way they want. Example: Let’s say you are Russian and learning Ukrainian or vice versa or you are from Azerbaijan and learning Armenian or in the USA a new era of McCarthyism breaks out and you happened to learn Russian a couple of years ago. Now imagine your employer buys that data on the market, decides you are subversive and fires you. Just one possibility and everything hypothetical of course ….

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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@Nicofiesta: Apple banned a FB app from their store because it was secretly harvesting user data.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurnane/2018/08/23/apple-pressures-facebook-to-remove-its-data-farming-vpn-from-the-app-store/#2b13fe1d660a

On December, it became know that FB has been allowing other conmpanies access to their user data without their consent:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/18/18147616/facebook-user-data-giveaway-nyt-apple-amazon-spotify-netflix

The trade with user data is big business and your data is worth a lot. And as has been said, there are tools out there that allow to analyze all available data, find connecting nodes, and thus even innocent non-personal data can be used to gain insights into a persons identity and online and private life.

Add to that the risk that any company supposedly protecting your data can be hacked...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HN701
HN701
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At the end of the day Nicofiesta is right. Lots of organizations have our data and there is little we can do about it. This is basically the cost of comfort and participation in modern life. It all boils down to the fact that (at least as of now) the advantages seem to be greater than the drawbacks. I guess a lot of people are so upset because FB these days is associated with devil reincarnate and we didn’t realize that FB can have our data even when we are not using FB/Instagram/ WhatsApp or Messenger. Google on the other hand as Nicofiesta already stated, has much more detailed and comprehensive data. But it is more broadly accepted probably until the next scandal hits Google ;)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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Sure, they could sell this data. And the government could also sell the data they have on us. And banks could sell our financial data. And insurances as well. I'm not even talking about the other big tech companies like Google who have even more detailed data about us.

But people keep using banks, they keep using Google, because they trust the companies with their data. If any of those companies started to sell user's personal data, they wouldn't be trustworthy anymore and people would stop using them.

So they have no interests in doing so, and believe me, they make way more money by keeping the data for themselves and using it for advertising purposes.

Now Facebook had some troubles lately because they didn't monitor the way they gave access to some sensitive information to third parties. This is obviously a problem and it's a lack of control on which they are now actively working, to try and regain trust from users (because if they don't have trust, they will just disappear).

So I think this is pretty inaccurate to think that these companies have any interest in selling our private data to third party.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Devokan
Devokan
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FYI, last I heard Ghostery does allow some ads and such from their partners. It was nice while I used it though, but that was a while ago.

EFF's Privacy Badger is pretty good. I use it with uMatrix, which is fantastic.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Ghostery doesn't display ads if you opt out of Ghostery Rewards and such. Most users don't go through the custom setup, but the option to disable that is available on install.

Privacy Badger is pretty good, although I don't appreciate how they collect data on users: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/privacy-badger17/privacy/ (You'll notice they use the phrase "in general" a lot when talking about it)

And yes uMatrix is amazing, almost the only thing you really need if you know how to use it to it's fullest potential.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Barry2045

The All Seeing Eye wants to know where you last took a dump & they will make money off of that info...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryanaissance

Uninstalled. Its bad enough all of the phones and operating systems are big brother spy companies, but I've avoided all forms of social media because I don't like everything I do to be tracked. I'll stick to the website, where at least movement can't be tracked.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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You can't really avoid it, just because you have android already means Google is happily tapping "all" of it. Uninstalling apps of which you know they share info with SpyBook just means you have less apps you'll be able to use while your information almost certainly still gets "stolen".

I've limited the access of Google's built in apps and while it doesn't break anything, it causes constant pesky messages from Google telling me to enable them. And despite having enabled about any privacy option available, it's obvious that "some" information is still being collected. When I completely ignore an ad shown by a "toilet app" (game you play while taking a **** :P - should uninstall actually) it very frequently "coincidentally" freezes, note that this doesn't mean it shares telemetrics but at it at a minimum collects and uses them locally without consent.

In the past I've even had Windows Office show me an error message in Portuguese while I didn't have a Portuguese language pack installed back then and the default language was set to English.

The best thing is to assume that everything you do and say on the internet is constantly being monitored and that tech companies might know you better than you do yourself.

SpyBook is the most obvious and openly evil one, at least that (should) spur(s) lawmakers into taking action. Google probably isn't much better but simply smarter (durability) to sort of regulate itself to an extent to prevent laws and other checks from being put in place. Microsoft in a sense is the noob as they haven't always been invested in collecting huge amounts of user data without consent.

The internet, once kinda the beacon of freedom is quickly turning into the opposite. In essence, the collection of data isn't a bad thing at all, but rather what for it's being used.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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Movements are definitely tracked even more on the website, thanks to cookies. They know when you log in, how long you stay on the website, what pages you go on etc.

If you concerned about it you should leave Duolingo... and actually the whole internet as well.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/James8000

This is terrible! I think someone from Duolingo should respond to this...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Um... Why would they? They're a business first, and it was 100% intentional that the programming works the way it does.

And yeah, I agree it's terrible. Best to use the desktop version with privacy-enhancement add-ons. Can still support with Duo Plus if users want.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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I'm not sure why it's terrible ? What is worrying about letting Facebook know if I downloaded an app and how regularly I use it ?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caelumcaeruleum

It's not Facebook's business, especially if a user doesn't have a FB account. It might seem trivial, but the line needs to be drawn. Companies can amass so much data from many sources about a single person and create very accurate profiles about them.

Here's an interesting and scary read https://privacyinternational.org/feature/2433/i-asked-online-tracking-company-all-my-data-and-heres-what-i-found

I know a lot of people say "I have nothing to hide". That's probably a lie. Even if you haven't done anything illegal or behaved in a way you don't want the world to know about, little bits of information strung together in a certain way can paint a very skewed picture of you.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

I want to also know this. It is terrible if personal information is gathered. To me personal information is created when different information is combined. It is that simple. If I use two different app and Facebook can identify this then border is crossed and Facebook gets personal information. I don’t know if that happens and I don’t know what information Facebook gathers exactly about Duolingo users.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brandonius813

I have a filter/accountability software installed on my computer, so that my accountability partner can see whether or not I've been on distracting/immoral websites. I've blocked facebook because it's distracting. But he always gets alerts that I'm using Facebook around the times I'm on the duolingo WEBSITE. This explains a lot for me, and means that the Facebook data share is not limited just to android.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeonMoogle
NeonMoogle
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Is NOTHING safe from that awful site???

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
betarage
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Typical cooperation all this spying for useless adds that never convince me to buy anything.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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It’s not just about simple adds. By now, companies and other groups are able to collect so much information about individuals from all kinds of sources that they can practically put all the pieces together and know pretty much all about you. Where you regularly go (mobile apps tracking your geo data), what you regularly purchase, what your political opinions are, which other people you know, where you work, etc., etc. That this kind of information can be very valuable for all kinds of purposes should be obvious (not all, but most of them are fairly sinister) and has clearly been shown in the Facebook case where manipulative ads and posts were used by foreign and US groups and even individual Facebook officers themselves to target users matching specific profiles in order to impact a country’s politics and elections. And similar attacks against democracy have been happening in other countries.

That doesn’t mean that DL is actively involved or does anything that is not done generally by most companies. But they do help provide another piece to the puzzle that is you.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Esen.
Esen.
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People wished for a world with no war, but now we get this.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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if you don't like companies collecting data from you don't use them then

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lemniscatarum
Lemniscatarum
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Easier said than done. Avoiding the use of Google entirely is difficult.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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This goes way beyond a few companies such as Facebook. Everybody is collecting your data. You would have to avoid completely doing anything online, never use a mobile phone, only pay in cash, put all your savings under your pillow case, never attend any schools, never visit a doctor, etc.

Sure, it’s a “choice” in theory, but not in reality. Wake up!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caelumcaeruleum

In the past, Facebook was tracking people all across the web, even the people who didn't have FB accounts. IIRC, it was easy to be tracked on any site that had a "Share on Facebook" button embedded. You could visit a website and not even have a chance to read the Privacy Policy (which you have to trust) and create a ping on FB's analytics system.

To think that it's as simple as not using particular company is being profoundly oblivious to the methods by which analytics data is collected.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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It's not in the past.

It's still a reality. Google and any browser you use still use cookies to track your online behaviors.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Esen.
Esen.
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However, it does not care about your purchase, it cares about revenue.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndresOrtizMasso

From the Privacy International report:

"In our analysis, apps that automatically transmit data to Facebook share this data together with a unique identifier, the Google advertising ID (AAID). As we have mentioned above, knowledge of any four apps installed on users’ smartphones is enough to successfully track 95% of users.29 However, since the data that is received is already linked to a unique identifier, it would be especially easy to combine data about a user’s behavior from different apps into a profile."

The problem is that Duolingo is sending usage data linked to a Google advertising ID which puts the anonymity of the user information at risk.

Another problem is the lack of response from Duolingo regarding this matter...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete
psionpete
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I think you have given your consent by opening your account. Read the Terms & Conditions and Privacy pages at the bottom of each web pages. Also, it is not just the App which is affected.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dlhgl
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It seems the problem is that data is shared with Facebook just after starting the app, without asking for consent, and before an account is created (where one is asked to give the consent).

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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Also, it is not just the App which is affected.

So the website is also affected?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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Indeed: Here it is:

To support and enhance the Service, we work with a variety of third party advertising networks, marketing analytics service providers and website analysis firms, such as Google, Facebook, Oath, Unity, and Quantcast (collectively, “Third Party Advertising Service Providers”). These Third Party Advertising Service Providers collect and use non-personally identifiable information, such as your mobile device ID, about your visits to and use of the Website and mobile Application, as well as other websites in order to serve you with advertisements and content tailored to meet your preferences and likely interests or better understand ad effectiveness. Aggregate demographic and interest data will also be used for market research purposes.

When you install the android app from the App Store it links to this privacy policy, so you are presumably considered to have agreed to it by installing the app.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caelumcaeruleum

non-personally identifiable information, such as your mobile device ID, about your visits to and use of the Website and mobile Application, as well as other websites in order to serve you with advertisements and content tailored to meet your preferences

That's the misleading part though. A mobile device ID isn't a name, but it may as well be because it ties you to a particular device with a dozen other apps installed, which are also sharing data. There have been numerous studies showing it takes very few data points to accurately identify someone.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

One thing to consider is that if it’s right to offer users apps without asking them first to see the privacy policy. Of course they not read it but they are still asked to read it.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

This comment should be at top!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny
McPwny
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no input from the admins or mods. i guess if you just ignore something you can always claim plausible deniability, right?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Mods are just volunteers for the most part, not really involved with Duo's business side of things.

What would staff even say though? Yeah, we're onto them. Yes, it was intentional to work with Facebook and Google to make money. You thought this was a free site? Well, someone's gotta make salary.

Duolingo is nothing special when it comes to this area. Many sites do this now, joining up with the large companies simply because it's easy profit. They'll only respond once someone sues them for sending your data to Facebook without your permission and without notice before the ping, and no one here is gonna sue them because then they'd be laying money down for something that honestly, almost every big site is doing anyway.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hawk-D
Hawk-DPlus
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I have been a Duolingo Plus subscriber, but have just unsubscribed as a result of its relationship with farcebook. Duolingo should be ashamed

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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What's wrong with it? They are using this relationship with Facebook to make sure they only send ads on Facebook to people who have not yet used the app.

The goal is to not be annoying and have more efficient ads that target people who might be interested in their content.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jileha
Jileha
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1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Esen.
Esen.
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I remember that issue being addressed in the Privacy Policy. This site (application) automatically connects to major companies (such as Facebook and Google) to enhance marketing choice for each user.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Not really a surprise, as most sites are doing this now, but still disappointing.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
oskalingo
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Two days after this was posted and zero replies from staff.

Duolingo continues down its path of betrayal against the promise it made to its users in its first video:

"No ads, no hidden fees, no subscriptions"

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyzJ2Qq9Abs&t=101

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

The source is completely unrelevant because latest product description is always found at duolingo.com. There is nothing wrong if they make changes to their product and latest information is found at duolingo.com.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
oskalingo
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You might live in a world where you think it's fine for people to make promises and then break them. I don't live in that world. I live in a world where people and companies who break my trust and try to exploit me are called out on that and shunned. Duolingo crossed that line as soon as they started running ads and providing user tracking data to third parties.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

From a legal standpoint, dogomolo is correct. However, I agree that Duo should probably delete that video. They certainly have changed, and it's all in the name of greed. They're a business, and you're both the one being served and the one paying for being served. Guess Duo isn't any different then other language learning sites now.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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"All in the name of greed"... Seriously?

I don't understand why you have to associate "business" with "greediness".

Duolingo has developped a platform free of charge for everyone to learn almost any languages for free. This is a huge investment and they keep investing the money they earn to develop the platform, bring new features, create new websites, podcasts, hiring thousands of people and paying them.

Of course they need money to pay for all of this. Otherwise this website would be down for a long time.

This is not magic, this is heavy resources, infrastructure, tech knowledge, AI, web design, and human resources that invest their life, waking up every morning to go work for Duolingo and keep developing the platform.

Why is it so hard to understand that and why do we keep assuming that all businesses are greedy?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

I hope we hear a response from Chaos_Hawk!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

@Nicofiesta what if you extent your comment to a full post? It is quite nice summary and people would definitely upvote it. People have given lots of upvotes to this post but I think you have skills to gain even more upvotes.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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@dogomolo

I'll let you do it :)

I'm pretty sure people will down vote as usually people have a great lack of discernment and balanced point of view when it comes to this kind of sensitive topics.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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@oskalingo : Nothing prevents you to leave Duolingo and go on another language website that will charge you, and at least you won't have ads.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
oskalingo
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I've already left. (And after I left I realised what an unproductive time-sink duolingo really is). I've followed the duolingo story from early on (2012) and I admit to being somewhat suckered by that original video I linked above and the idealism expressed within. I'm now almost fully disillusioned with duolingo, and the topic of this thread is just further confirmation of that disillusionment. I only drop back into the forums from time to time to see how the train-wreck is progressing.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogomolo

@oskalingo: “unproductive time-sink”— this sounds really interesting taking into account you were talking about user tracking and advertising. What productivity has to do with that? Advertising in Duolingo doesn’t take much time off from users. And more: it is not distracting users during lessons.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Devokan
Devokan
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Run Duolingo while using Net Monitor.

It's enlightening.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gina85350

Just one more reason to leave Facebook. Nuff said.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

And yet even if you don't have a Facebook account, Duo will still send your data over to them anyway for shadow profiling, which is pretty much as good as having a real profile.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caelumcaeruleum

For those slightly technically inclined, set up a pi-hole on your personal network to prevent some of the "phoning home" that apps and devices do. You might be surprised when you see all the different analytics attempts when you do something as simple as opening Spotify or going to a news site.

You'll have to whitelist sites in the beginning to unbreak things and it's easy to allow ads on respectful sites. Make sure your fellow network users know that you can potentially see which websites they visit if they use the pihole as a DNS server--don't be sketchy like Facebook. DNS can be set manually on most devices so they don't have to use the pihole.

For the even more slightly technically inclined, you can look into preventing apps (like Roku apps) from using hardcoded DNS to bypass the pihole.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Colthor
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Hey, imagine if there were some kind of general data protection regulation regarding the collection, sharing, and opt-in, unforced consent about personal data use. That'd be quite the thing, eh DuoLingo?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlaucoVillasBoas

Take my lingot! We know there are terms & conditions and we know most of the people don't read it. But if there were a data protection regulation, the terms & conditions would be limited, because they can't go beyond the law.

I am a programmer, and when I create an app that needs to access the device photos, for instance, the user must allow the app to do that, even if I've put it in terms & conditions. The user need allow or deny to continue using the app, if the user deny, they can use the app, but can't upload a picture photo for instance, because they didn't allowed the app to access their device photos. At least, I would like to allow or deny my data of being shared by duolingo and been accessed by who know what.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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Good point

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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They are respecting it, mentioning all about this in their terms & conditions, as required by the GDPR. If GDPR and data protection is so important for you, I think you should spend more time reading these terms & condition before using a digital service.

"To support and enhance the Service, we work with a variety of third party advertising networks, marketing analytics service providers and website analysis firms, such as Google, Facebook, Oath, Unity, and Quantcast (collectively, “Third Party Advertising Service Providers”). These Third Party Advertising Service Providers collect and use non-personally identifiable information, such as your mobile device ID, about your visits to and use of the Website and mobile Application, as well as other websites in order to serve you with advertisements and content tailored to meet your preferences and likely interests or better understand ad effectiveness. Aggregate demographic and interest data will also be used for market research purposes."

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheNecromancer10

A similar post was submitted to /r/duolingo around 6 hours ago, around 2 hours before you submitted this post.

https://redd.it/ab6vr9

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matson
matsonPlus
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it's amazing how detailed, open, and complete the research is.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wyqtor
wyqtor
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I get that maintaining a service such as Duolingo costs a lot of money, I really do.

But why, in the name of all that is holy, does the data of subscribers to Duolingo Plus get sent to Facebook, too?

Maybe I would have been willing to pay for the peace of mind of not having my data sold to FB and others. Well, it's safe to say that now there's no chance of me ever even considering a Duolingo Plus subscription, not with the deafening silence of the staff for almost a week after the article in question was published.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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The data is sent to Facebook so that, when Duolingo wants to advertise on Facebook, they can specifically show their ads to people who have Duolingo Plus, or to people who don't have Duolingo Plus or to people who don't have Duolingo at all.

That way, they avoid annoying people for whom the ad is not relevant, and they get more attention from people who might be interested.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Wesley
Thomas_Wesley
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Quelle surprise!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saved_by_Christ
Saved_by_Christ
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Facebook is quite an attraction these days. I've heard more than 100 million of those 2 billion users are active. Facebook is now gathering info on it's users without permission. I believe that is totally inappropriate. They shouldn't be allowed to do that! Now, my opinion of Duolingo has dropped because they have partnered with FB. I've heard the average person spends an hour a day on their Facebook account. Think of how much extra time they have on weekends! But say they spend 1 hour a day every day, that's 365 hours in one year. That's the equivalent of spending 15 (24 hour)days. Really? You want to waste all that time, seeing what so-and-so said about their new whitewashed bedroom room? Wipe Facebook off from the earth and you'll get less internet traffic, less lazy people and smarter kids.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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Wipe Facebook off from the earth and you can be sure that someone else is going to build a similar social media.

Because Facebook is filling a need. The need to be able to easily keep in touch with your family or friends who live thousand miles away.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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But at least it would have more ethical practices, as less would be very difficult to achieve.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta
Nicofiesta
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Have you ever heard of cookies ? Cookies do exactly the same for browsers and companies like Google and no one has been complaining about it for years.

There's absolutely no difference in the way Facebook get their data from apps.

And the only thing Facebook is doing with it, is helping companies target the right people when they are advertising on Facebook (for example targeting people who have not yet installed the app). That's how they make money.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/redneckray

Do you know most newspapers were free--paid for by advertising.

Do you know all radio and TV is free--paid for by advertising.

Do you recognize that someone has to pay for the internet and would you like to pay for it? Or let the advertisers pay.

If I want to make a major purchase I look for it on line and then I sit back and wait for the best offer in an ad.

One man's poison is another mans meat.

Did you see what I did there?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carwile.brett

"Do you know most newspapers were free"

~ No. Newspapers were never free. The newspapers that run in my town and the surrounding towns have and always will cost. I have no idea where you are getting that from.

"Do you know ALL radio and TV is free"

~Once again, no it is not. Alright, maybe radio, yes, but if you think ALL TV is free, you are clearly mistaken. You can get a TV antenna and get some channels for free, but they tend to be very limited. You want access to ANY channel (As you stated ALL TV is free), you'e going to have to pay a cable or satellite bill.

"Do you recognize that someone has to pay for the internet and would you like to pay for it? Or let the advertisers pay."

~Uh, people already DO pay for their internet service. I pay a monthly internet bill of about $50, and ANYBODY who has access to internet at their home or business has to pay. You seem to be confused if you think everybody's internet is "free" and the advertisers are paying for it. Yes, there are public areas which offer free WiFi, such as McDonald's or public libraries, but even those places have to pay the bill before they can let people use it. . .

I'm sorry, but you seem to severely confused about stuff being "free".

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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There was advertising before Facebook existed and there was advertising before personal data was being collected. "Anything in the name of advertising" clearly also isn't the way to go. Devil's advocate.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlaucoVillasBoas

Here in my country the only free newspaper is church's newspaper, all the others are paid newspaper. I pay cable TV, but yes, you can watch limited channels paid by advertising. I pay for my internet and I wouldn't like it with lots of advertising and invasion of privacy, I mean, we already have a lot of advertising and invasion of privacy, even paying, I do not want more. Principally because I do have kids who use the internet in my house.

I saw you telling a lot of *

1 week ago
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