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New Study Finds That Quibi Inappropriately Shared User Information With Third-Party Ad Firms

Stephanie Sengwe

Only three weeks after launching, Quibi has already found itself in some hot water. According to a new study by analytics consulting firm Victory Medium, Quibi inappropriately shared users’ email addresses with third-party advertising and tracking companies.

The study found that Quibi was forwarding the email addresses of users who clicked on confirmation links during sign-up to third-party partners such as Google, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. This would allow the third-party companies to track users’ online activity and make them easier to target with ads.

Though Quibi’s privacy policy states the streamer may “share personal information with third-party service providers for them to facilitate services they provide to us,” it does not explicitly say that a user’s information can be used for online tracking, Variety reports.

For their part, Quibi released a statement saying they addressed the issue as soon they were made aware. “Data protection is essential to Quibi and the security of user information is of the highest priority,” the short-form streamer said in a statement. “The moment the issue on our web page was revealed to our security and engineering team, we fixed it immediately.”

Zach Edwards, the founder of Victory Medium, labeled the mishap a “sloppy and dangerous growth hack,” saying, “In 2020, no new technology organizations should be launching that leaks all new user-confirmed emails to advertising and analytics companies — yet that’s what Quibi apparently decided to do.”

Quibi’s launch has not been without controversy. In March, the streamer had to file a lawsuit hoping to pacify Eko — an interactive-video company — over claims that Quibi infringed a patent they hold over a similar technology to the Turnstyle feature.

Days before the streaming service launched, Eko is took their claims to the next level by filing an injunction against the streamer. According to Deadline, a filing made on behalf of Eko on April 1 stated, “Plaintiff JBF Interlude 2009 Ltd. – Israel seeks a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendant Quibi Holdings LLC from misappropriating Eko’s proprietary technology for mobile device optimized ‘Real Time Switching.’ This trade secret technology, which is a critical part of Eko’s technology platform, had been shared with Quibi employees under multiple non-disclosure agreements.”

Quibi (short for quick bites) launched on April 6 and focuses on high-quality short form content that is designed to be watched on your smartphone. The mobile streaming streaming offers two plans — $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without ads. The ad-supported product includes a pre-roll ad, as well as a one to two mid-roll ads depending on the length of the content.

Since its debut April 6, the mobile streamer says it’s been downloaded more than 2.7 million times, reported Reuters. And it recorded 1.7 million downloads in its first streaming week.

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