Facebook Apps Get Privacy Grades

Facebook-Apps- PrivacyChoice is unveiling a new tool that grades Facebook apps based on how they treat users' data. The company, founded by tech entrepreneur Jim Brock, recently offered a similar feature for Web sites.

As with the broader tool, the new Facebook-specific product assigns apps a number grade between 1 and 100. Half of that grade comes from the apps' own privacy policies, while the other half is based on the privacy practices of the tracking companies the apps work with.

Apps earn points based on various factors, such as whether their privacy policies promise not to share users' personal data with marketers. Apps also earn points for working with tracking companies that have privacy-friendly practices, such as allowing people to opt out of online behavioral advertising.

For instance, the popular game Words with Friends got a grade of 79 out of 100. The company scored 40 out of 50 for its own privacy policies. The app lost 10 points for two reasons. The first is that it doesn't promise to tell users about government requests for their data. The second is that its privacy policy says it doesn't share personal data "for marketing purposes," as opposed to making the broader promise that it won't share personal data with third parties.

Words with Friends also scored 39 out of 50 -- a figure that is based on the privacy policies of the 55 tracking companies found on the app's pages.

PrivacyChoice says it studied 212 apps total, which had an average of 4.66 trackers her page. The apps' average privacy score was 78 -- which Brock characterizes as a "C-plus."

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