Pictured is a woman on a phone and a tweet about deleting period tracking apps

Wait, why are women being told to delete their period tracking apps?

Period tracking apps Flo, Stardust and Clue have all confirmed user data is safe

Women are being urged on social media to delete their period tracking apps following the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, where millions of women in America have now lost the legal right to an abortion. Since the ruling, social media has been filled with women telling others to delete their period tracking apps, following the concerns on how the apps use and collect data.

After the ruling, young adult author, Jessica Khoury said on Twitter: “Delete your period tracking apps today.” The tweet has received over 355,000 likes and 97,000 retweets.

Why are women being told to delete their period tracking apps?

Women in the US are being advised to delete their period tracking apps after concerns have arisen that authorities could use the data from the apps to find out if someone had an abortion or was considering having one.

Users of period tracking apps share when their period starts and stops, which allows the app to predict when their next cycle will be, when they’ll be most fertile and if their period is late. Following the Roe v. Wade ruling, the fear is apps could be forced to share the data of people’s periods to the authorities.

Do period tracking apps sell your data?

One of the most popular apps used to track periods is Flo, which has over 43 million users. The period tracking app recently came under fire after it was found it informed Facebook every time a user indicated they were on their period or wanted to get pregnant. Flo did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement case and insisted to NPR that the app does not share health data with any third party.

Have period tracking apps said anything about this?

Since the Roe v. Wade overturning, Flo released a statement on protecting the data of its users. On Twitter, the company said: “You deserve the right to protect your data. We will soon be launching an ‘Anonymous Mode’ that removes your personal identity from your Flo account, so that no one can identify you.”

European period tracker app Clue has also released a statement reassuring its users. The company said: “We hear your questions and we understand your concerns. The thought that US authorities could use people’s private health data against them is infuriating and terrifying. Without fuelling further fear or speculation, we do want to offer our community clarity and reassurance.”

It shared that no matter where in the world a user is, if Clue holds a user’s data, under European law the company is obligated to protect privately tracked data. Clue said: “No US Court or other authority can override that, since we are not based in the US. Our user data cannot simply be subpoenaed from the US. We are subject to the jurisdiction of the German and European courts, who apply European privacy law.”

Another tracker app, Stardust, confirmed it does not sell the data from its app. Stardust said: “In light of the recent news about Roe v. Wade, we want to make our commitment clear to you. We are a women-owned app founded on a belief in freedom of choice and freedom of privacy. We do not sell data.”

Featured image credit before edits via Laura Chouette on Unsplash.

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