We’ve almost missed this one – but even though it could be a bit of old news, it’s worth pointing out.
A few weeks ago, some Snapchat users complained that the service is somehow tracking them around the Internet to learn their birthdays and birthplace. Luckily for all of us, that’s not happening. Instead, we have Snapchat’s Astrological Profile feature to blame for this — and the app just picked up the information users told it themselves.
The “Astrological Birthday” feature is available from the settings section of Snapchat, and if you weren’t aware – you may have already given the app all of that information.
Here’s what Snapchat told The Verge about its Astrological Profile feature:
The birth date and time information shown above was actually inputted by the users themselves in order to obtain more specific information, stemming from our latest astrological profiles feature. The feature requires the exact birth date and time from each person in order to calculate their exact star chart reading.
We take the privacy of personally identifiable information very seriously at Snap, and this more granular birth date and time information is used only for this astrological profile feature.
Astrological Profiles was launched back in November 2020 as a way for users to share and compare horoscopes on their stories and check their Astro compatibility with friends. Snapchat users have already shared their birthday when they made their Snapchat profiles, and the astrological features just took it a step further to ask for the time and location of birth.
To be fair, Snapchat said it won’t share any birth information unless you want it to and you are even able to delete the specific birth time and location information at any time.
Also, these individual pieces of information are NOT particularly damaging on their own, but over time apps like Snapchat (i.e. social media) collect a ton of data about all of us, which further helps them monetize on our data. And that part is kinda questionable.
Remember that there is no VPN solution that will protect you from sharing your data. At the end of the day, it is up to you (up to all of us) to know what you’re doing on the Internet and share only the stuff that you think won’t compromise you down the road. And yes, you should still use a VPN to at least spoof various trackers used by services like Facebook, Google and Snapchat.