Period Tracking App, Flo, Introduces a New Anonymous Mode

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Flo

Users can decide whether or not their info will be shared.

Magdalena Aparicio, Photojournalist

Since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. V. Wade, people around America are beginning to fear their privacy surrounding menstruation. On the market, there are many popular period and fertility tracking apps – among the most popular being Clue and Flo. Such apps help menstruators track various factors influencing their cycles. 

Recently, more and more users are starting to worry about the legality of such apps. With a database of over 48 million users, Flo has reclaimed its commitment to privacy and security for its users, as many users are deleting their information and the app itself. 

But why is this a concern?

The period tracking apps don’t just track menstrual cycles, but every symptom around them. Flo users have the ability to track sexual activity or inactivity, sexual drive, mood fluctuations, cramps, breast tenderness, vaginal dicharge, sleep, water intake, fertility and pregnancy, period regularity or irregularity, and various factors affecting the menstrual cycle. Over two-thirds of period tracking apps share data with third parties and nearly two-thirds share information for various legal obligations.

“Depending on which state I lived in, I would use the anonymous feature,” says teenager Dayana Piña (12). “I wouldn’t want my business out there, especially if it puts me in danger.” Upon the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, users fear such information could be used as evidence in the event of a trial or defense of having obtained an abortion. As individual states decide whether or not to legalize abortion, period tracking apps have adopted a new liability to protect the legality of both themselves and their users. 

I wouldn’t want my business out there, especially if it puts me in danger.”

— Dayana

On June 29th, 2022, Flo sent an update that a new Anonymous Mode will be available to its users. This feature gives users the ability to delete former information or conceal their identifying factors (address, phone number, email, full name, etc.). 

Regardless, some feel it’s best to avoid period tracking apps altogether, especially in states without legal protection to abortion. 

Moreover, Flo will continue to collect the IP addresses and mobile advertising identification of its users, meaning statistical information can still be found within Flo’s database as a company. This does not only affect legal ties to abortion, but it also interferes with insurance advertising. Ultimately, many remain undecided on whether or not to delete or maintain their period tracking apps. However, it remains unclear whether or not the Anonymous Mode truly protects its users.