A number of popular Christian prayer and devotional apps are secretly mining data on their users and selling that information to Big Tech companies, according to a new report.
BuzzFeed reported Monday that several prayer apps and websites, such as Pray.com, Hallow, Glorify, and Bible Gateway, have been secretly data mining their users’ activity on the site and sharing that data with a number of Big Tech corporations that traffic in data, including Facebook.
The first app Buzzfeed investigated, Pray.com, allegedly collects data on their users in a number of ways: it can track their physical location, the links they click on, and even the text of the things they post on the site. The site then supplements that information with additional info like age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, marital status, income, household size, political affiliation, and interests taken from “third-parties such as data analytics providers and data brokers,” according to the report. The app then reportedly shares that information with third parties, including “advertising, sale and marketing tools” for “commercial purposes.”
“I just have no idea why they would need that,” said “Katie,” a user of the app interviewed by Buzzfeed. Sharing prayers comes with “an expectation of privacy,” said “Jenny,” another user. “Sarah,” another user, said that it would be “exploitative,” “manipulative,” and “predatory” if Pray.com used people’s prayers to sell products.
Other devotional apps such as Hallow and Glorify reportedly have similar policies allowing them to share data with their partners for advertising purposes, and giving them “sole discretion” about when to share that information with outside parties — but representatives for both apps told Buzzfeed that they had not done so. Bible Gateway, which is owned by News Corporation, has allegedly been sharing its users’ information using a proprietary advertising system called NewsIQ, which infers users’ “preferences, opinions and emotions” based on their activity on other sites owned by News Corp.
Buzzfeed’s report comes as multiple states are suing Google over allegations that it used deceptive practices to track users’ location to sell targeted ads without their permission. The Daily Wire previously reported that Washington state, Indiana, Texas, and Washington, D.C., have each filed lawsuits alleging that many of Google’s apps can track a user’s location, even when they have disabled the location feature on their Google accounts.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.