Fitness App Acquired By Facebook Changes Privacy Policy

Two weeks ago, when Facebook acquired the fitness app Moves, the company assured users that it wasn't going to integrate with Facebook.

“The Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook,” Moves said in an announcement posted on its site on April 24.  At the time the app's privacy policy told users their data would never be shared with third parties.

Now, however, the site's privacy policy reads differently. “We may share information, including personally identifying information, with our affiliates (companies that are part of our corporate groups of companies, including but not limited to Facebook) to help provide, understand, and improve our services,” the new policy says. News of the shift was first reported on Monday by The Wall Street Journal.

For its part, Facebook says that it isn't going to “commingle” the data by merging information in order to identify the Move users who also are on Facebook. “Facebook is not adding Moves user data to a Facebook user’s Facebook account,” a spokesperson says in an email to MediaPost. “But, Facebook will be providing support and services to the Moves app and to be able to do this, we have to have access to the data that Moves already collects from its users.”

Regardless of the company's current plans, the new policy's wording appears to enable Facebook to draw on data about Moves' users in ways they couldn't have anticipated when they began using the app.

Given Facebook's long record of questionable privacy-related decisions, this latest news shouldn't be surprising. But the new privacy policy might not remain in place for long, given that regulators seem to be watching Facebook closely. Earlier this year, after Facebook announced plans to acquire the messaging service WhatsApp, the Federal Trade Commission told the social networking service to honor the privacy promises that WhatsApp made to its users.

The FTC also reminded the company that it settled a prior privacy complaint by promising to obtain people's express consent before sharing their photos, updates and other data more broadly than its privacy policy allowed when the material was uploaded.

Given that history, it wouldn't be surprising if the FTC intervenes again, and persuades the company to promise that it won't use Moves' trove of data in ways people didn't expect.

Tags: facebook, privacy
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1 comment about "Fitness App Acquired By Facebook Changes Privacy Policy".
  1. Pete Austin from Triggered Messaging , May 7, 2014 at 6 a.m.
    Sad. Surely "The Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app" is directly contradicted by "Facebook will be providing support and services to the Moves app".