Finch: Self Care Pet
Review date: April 25, 2023
For those of you who dream of having a pet, but tend to kill plants off rather easily, this little self-care app for you. Download the app and start taking care of your little pet friend. And as Finch says, "take care of your pet by taking care of yourself!" So, treat yourself well so your little cute pet does well. The app offers self-care activities like mood check-ins, habit trackers, guided breathing exercises, motivational quotes, and analytical insights on your mental health. The more you care for you, the more your little pet is cared for. Aww...so cute. How is Finch for privacy? Well, it's not terrible, so that's good. Still, there could be ads following you around the internet.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
We did a quick dip on the Finch subreddit and learned people are confused about how the Super Vibe works, so it might be reassuring to users if they made that a bit more clear inside the app. After all, it caters to the anxious among us (and who isn't anxious these days!). And who wouldn’t be anxious about the prospect of accidentally reaching out to a dusty old contact through your mental health app? They don’t seem to do anything with your contacts without your consent though, to be clear.
They also store anything you write, like your reflections and goals. But you can ask them to encrypt that information so that no one can read it but you (or technically, without your private key) by turning on “Advanced Data Protection.” Yup, we like the sound of that.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. That’s a running theme with the Finch app. Privacy-wise, you choose your own adventure. That’s better than not having a choice, but privacy by default is our preference, since we’re starting to suspect that not everyone likes to poke around in privacy settings as much as we do.
Speaking of choices, unless you disable it, they’re going to share some information about your browsing activity with third parties like Facebook, Amazon, and TikTok to track ad performance. Don't worry too much about this as this practice is super common on the internet and they do give you instructions on how to opt out. We found it kinda funny that in the part where they talk about this, they’re pulling on the ‘ol heartstrings a little by suggesting that advertising “serves to enable small businesses and mom-and-pop shops to have a chance to succeed” and later that “most of the sites and apps you know and love that show ads are probably using interest-based advertising to try to earn enough to stay in business.” Why does it feel like their adorable bird mascot will cry if I restrict my Facebook ad preferences (maybe because restricting that means restricting money)? Maybe we’re just too sentimental. In any case, here’s a palate cleanser: you have the right to delete all your data! As you should.
What's the worst thing that could happen with your cute little Finch Self Care Pet? Well, if you accidentally send your high school gym teacher a virtual hug, that could be pretty awkward. But who knows, maybe it could also make your old gym teacher's day!
Tips to protect yourself
- Do not give access to your photos and video or camera
- Do not log in using third-party accounts
- Do not connect to any third party via the app, or at least make sure that a third party employs decent privacy practices
- Do not give consent for sharing of personal data for marketing and advertisement.
- Choose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
- Do not use social media plug-ins.
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless neccessary)
- Keep your app regularly updated
- Limit ad tracking via your device (e.g. on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
- Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
- When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
Can it snoop on me?
What can be used to sign up?
Log-in is not required.
What data does the company collect?
Name, email address, phone number (in hashed form), mailing/billing addresses, and birthday - if you choose to provide them.
Phone’s address book - if you choose to provide it.
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known privacy or security incidents discovered in the last 3 years.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
A limited set of features may not work as intended.
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
The app offers an app lock feature in settings, which people can enable to use their phone’s security (e.g. PIN or fingerprint) to open the app if they want to further protect access to their app from someone taking their physical device.
"We do <...> welcome feedback and review everything that comes into our support channels and email addresses."
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