Created: February 28, 2022 10:46 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A lot of us have plenty of apps on our smartphones. Facebook, Instagram, the First Alert Weather app! What about the Wegmans mobile app? One viewer reached out claiming the Wegmans app is constantly feeding your information to other companies. Is that true? News10NBC's Nikki Rudd is checking the facts.
"If you like shopping at Wegmans and have a smartphone or tablet, maybe you've heard of our Wegmans app."
That's what the announcer says on the ad for the Wegmans mobile app that was posted to YouTube back in 2014. The app has been around for years. Maybe you use it for your grocery list or to get digital coupons. It has a lot of stuff available right at your fingertips.
"You can search for individual items, scan barcodes in your pantry, browse departments," said the ad announcer.
The viewer who alerted us to this issue says the Wegmans app was trying to feed his information to companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Pinterest even when the app wasn't open. He sent us a screenshot from DuckDuckGo, an internet privacy company. It shows it blocked 26 tracking attempts by the Wegmans app and even more attempts 14 hours earlier.
So is Wegmans really sharing your information? The Wegmans Communications Department told me, yes and say it's standard practice among digitally engaged retailers.
"Wegmans takes customers' privacy rights very seriously and complies with all applicable data privacy laws. We use third-party tracking tools provided by third-party advertising and analytic service providers to collect information about how customers use our website and app. Sharing this information allows us to improve the customer experience and personalize our digital advertising. There is no personally identifiable information shared with these providers," said a Wegmans spokesperson.
When it comes to the claim that the Wegmans app is sharing your information with other companies that is a fact along with a lot of other apps right on your phone.
Now, let's go in-depth on how you can stop these apps from tracking you. Apple updated its operating system last year. There's a new feature called "App Tracking Transparency," or ATT. This feature requires apps to ask permission to track your activity across other apps and websites. If you have an Apple product, just go to "Settings." Tap on "Privacy." Choose "Tracking" at the top of the screen, and the apps that have asked for your permission to track you are listed there. You can turn them on or off.
Google came out with a similar feature for Androids.
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