The end of the year is approaching, and like every year, different social media platforms will come out with their annual reviews. With Spotify Wrapped, you can see your most-streamed songs, albums, and podcasts from the past year. Spotify offers a preview in December, with many people sharing their lists on social media.
Wrapped has a similar concept. The app is available for both iOS and Android users. According to the app’s description, Instagram users can see who their “best friends” were this year, which of your Instagram Stories were the most popular, which accounts viewed your profile, and who blocked you all. However, there is an important difference between this app and Spotify.
The developer of Wrapped is not Meta, Instagram’s parent company, but an external third party called Wrapped Labs. Based on your Instagram data, the app can generate statistics about your Instagram activity. According to ICTRecht lawyer Peter Kager, the bells should already be ringing. “You’re handing over your data, but you have no idea to whom, where the data is going, what’s happening to it and why it’s happening.”
This is also what Rigo Zenger, a researcher on the digital civil rights movement Bits of Freedom, says. “At first glance, it does not appear to be a legitimate app. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the app uses third-party brand names that have undoubtedly not given permission. As mentioned in the app description is “Instagram Wrapped”, which is a combination of Spotify and Instagram. In addition Moreover, it was manufactured by an unknown company.”
If you go to the website mentioned in the description in the app store, it won’t work, Zenger says. “The developer also states that no data is collected, but that can’t be true, as you have to share your Instagram data to use the app. It’s red flag after red flag.”
In the Privacy Declaration From Wrapped states that the application uses external services that may collect information used to identify the user. It also claims that user data is secure and that developers “do their best” to protect personal data, but they “cannot guarantee its security.”
Attorney Kager says Google and Apple also impose conditions on app developers. If the developer does not comply, the application may be taken offline. How can such an app still be available online in app stores? “This is probably partly due to automation. Not every app is fully vetted before it becomes available online. This is a responsibility that falls on the developer, but also on Apple and Google. The user must also read carefully about what can be done with their data.” to happen.”
Another amazing detail is that Wrapped contains in-app purchases. These are purchases you can often make in a free app to unlock additional features. So, not only are you sharing your account information with the app that the developer can resell, but according to Zinger, you could also be defrauding users financially.
The reviews on the App Store and Google Play Store don’t lie: Wrapped gets one star out of five. People mainly complain that the app does not work and does not deliver what it promises. And when you get results, they often look wrong.
If you’ve already installed the app, experts say it’s best to change your password.
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