The Wall Street Journal reports on the social networking app industry and the ways in which developers gain vast amounts of users' personal data. After an examination of 100 of the most popular Facebook apps, The Wall Street Journal found that apps sought a range of personal data--from e-mail addresses to sexual preferences of the user and user's friends. The force behind personal data collection, the report states, "reflects a fundamental truth" about Facebook and the Internet economy--users are paying for free services with personal data rather than money, and companies then profit from that data. According to one market researcher, taking into account the entire "app economy," the burgeoning industry is estimated to have generated $20 billion in revenue in 2011. Editor's Note: The IAPP will host the session Mobile Applications and Third-party Platforms and Social Media at the Practical Privacy Series in Chicago and New York. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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