Privacy experts warn users over invasive “Most Used Words” Facebook app

Think before you click

Most of us are guilty of pressing that “allow access” button way too quickly.

If you’ve been on Facebook in the last week, chances are at least 5 of your friends have shared their Most Used Words on Facebook this Year graphic. While this isn’t the first invasive app that we allow to access our information, it is the latest in reminding us to be more careful before we click.

The “What Are Your Most Used Words on Facebook?” quiz that has been shared around recently offers to create a fun colourful word cloud out of your most used words on Facebook from the past year. But privacy experts are warning users that the app is not only accessing the data they say they are, but they are giving the app’s South Korean parent company, Vonvon, permission to look at your photos, friends, and other personal data for other purposes. While this may not come as a surprise to you, the fine print is a little concerning.

“The way Facebook has built its platform makes it relatively easy for online apps like Vonvon’s to quickly access a wide range of personal information from users’ social media accounts, and then share that data with pretty much anyone,” CTV News technology analyst Carmi Levy told in an email.


When users agree to allow Vonvon to access to their personal data, the company’s privacy policy outlines that they are also allowing the company to collect “personally identifying information” and to “store data for as long as it is necessary to provide products and services to you and others” with “some information remaining in backup copies and logs for longer periods.” It goes on to say that the company can continue to use “non-identifying information” even after a user has terminated their site membership.

No, Vonvon isn’t technically stealing information, but this is a good reminder that some of these seemingly just-for-fun apps are actually highly invasive and are doing more with your personal information than simply producing a shareable graphic.

“If we’re looking for a villain, there is none,” Levy said. “Instead, we should look in the mirror, and then learn to take the time to read carefully before we click on the Agree or Install button.”