Flo is a highly rated period-tracking app on both the App Store and Google Play, but in light of recent events, some might be wondering if their personal information will still be safe on the platform going forward. Known as an excellent health and well-being app for tracking fertility, menstrual cycle, and eventual pregnancy, users can input their daily symptoms, including their use of oral contraception, sexual activities, weight and sleep metrics, and range of moods. However, due to the crumbling of Roe v. Wade, there is widespread concern over whether people’s use of Flo, and period trackers in general, can have disastrous legal repercussions in the future.
In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and effectively nullified the decades-old constitutional right to abortion. Nearly half of the U.S. states are expected to overturn abortion rights, with more restrictions to probably follow. The use of period and fitness apps to track personal health data has suddenly become a questionable decision, and many are worried that any information they log can potentially be used against them legally, should they try to obtain abortion services in states where they are now against the law.
Health trackers like Flo often have vague privacy policies that enable them to share data so that they can better target their audiences with more timely features, third-party recommendations, and relevant ads. Users who are unsure of what to do about Flo’s data collection practices and are second-guessing their use of the app may want to explore the app’s newest feature slated for launch “in the next few weeks.” In a recent tweet, Flo announced an upcoming ‘Anonymous Mode‘ that will allow users to remove their personal identity from their accounts, including their personal email, name, and other identifiers. It will be offered as a free feature and will not affect most of Flo’s functionality, so users can proceed with using the app as normal. However, because anonymous mode will effectively put a cap on the app’s personalization features, those who enable it would not be able to recover any data in case the device the app is on is lost, changed, or stolen.
Users who still want to use the Flo app to track certain aspects of their health can do so and skip the options that would enable outside bodies to observe specific details that could result in a decision to seek an abortion. For those who use Flo mainly as a fertility tracker, that may mean not logging periods or sexual activities. It may also mean not utilizing Flo’s ‘Pregnancy Mode‘ feature, which includes the option to log miscarriages. Although ignoring these services may take the point out of using Flo all together, long-time users of the app can decide to maintain their accounts on the platform and just track their weight, sleep, steps, and water intake. Users who’d like to test Flo‘s anonymous mode before deciding to call it quits will have to see in the coming weeks if it’s enough to assuage their growing concerns.