Two apps that help track women’s periods and menstrual cycles are reassuring their tens of millions of users that they will not hand over sensitive data to authorities in states that have either banned or severely restricted abortions.
The apps, Flo and Clue, reacted on Friday to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The high court’s decision to overturn the 50-year precedent sent shockwaves throughout the nation.
It also automatically triggered abortion bans in several states while putting in motion proposed legislation in about a dozen other states to either severely restrict or outright ban the procedure.
Flo posted a tweet on Friday which sought to calm users’ concerns.
“You DESERVE the right to protect your data,” the company said. “We will soon be launching an ‘Anonymous Mode’ that removes your personal identity from your Flo account, so that no one can identify you.”
Panicked Twitter users concerned for their privacy began urging their peers on social media to begin deleting period-tracking apps over the weekend.
One Twitter user wrote: “people who use Flo, delete the app or don’t use it at all! they sell your data which could be extremely dangerous if seeking abortion in a state that has criminalized it!!!”
Another Twitter user commented: “The app Flo shared their data with 3rd parties so delete that s-it.”
Wrote another Twitter user: “DELETE YOUR PERIOD TRACKING APPS. right now i dont have a ‘which ones are safe and which ones arent’ list, but at least delete the app ‘flo’ if you have it!”
Flo bills itself as the “No. 1 period and cycle tracking app” which allows users to “access personalized health insights, virtual dialogs, and dozens of courses to learn how your cycle affects your body and well being.”
On its web site, the company pledges to adhere to a policy of “your body, your data.”
“With Flo, you’re in control,” the company says.
“You trust us with your personal information, so we’re open about how we keep you safe. And we’ll never share your health data with any company but Flo.”
The Post has sought comment from Flo.
In 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Flo divulged sensitive data to Facebook, Google, and other, including when a user was having her period or declared her intention to get pregnant.
Last year, Flo reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in the wake of the Journal report.
Flo’s competitor, Clue, which is based in Europe, released a statement saying that it was subject to the European Union’s much more stricter privacy laws that prohibit the sharing and selling of data to third-party advertisers.
“Our users’ health data, particularly any data they track in Clue about pregnancies, pregnancy loss or abortion, is kept private and safe,” the company said in a statement.
“Our business model is not based on profiting from our users’ personal data – we don’t sell them products based on what they track, we do not share any tracked data with ad networks, and we certainly do not sell our users’ data to any third parties,” the company said.
“Our business model is direct to consumer subscriptions – our users are our customers, nobody else is.”