Moves App Changes Privacy Policy After Facebook Deal

Moves App Changes Privacy Policy After Facebook Deal

Facebook continues to be a mover and shaker as far as acquiring startup companies is concerned.  After the fitness tracking app Moves was acquired by Facebook, the company changed its privacy policy to reflect a greater degree of sharing of user data, including with Facebook.

This is something the company has said it would not do in the past if it was acquired.  Facebook uses user data to specifically target ads to specific groups, and this is something that several companies, including Moves, have said it would not do.  This is the tricky thing that occurs when Facebook acquires a company.  When Facebook buys a company, the social media platform expects that the user data from the company it has acquired will be shared.  However, this may require a policy change, and it will likely be one that many will be displeased with.

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Certainly, Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy believes that this is only going to spark further privacy concerns.  While both Moves and Facebook have reiterated a few times that they would not be commingling data, they have said that data will be shared between the two companies, and Chester believes that this is simply an issue of semantics.

On Monday, Moves issued a change to its privacy policy, specifically to how it shares data. “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 policy now says.

Moves AppThis runs contrary to what the policy said previously.  The policy previously said that it would not share any user data with a third party without a user’s consent, unless compelled by law enforcement.  This is the part that bothers Chester, as it now leaves the door wide open for websites like Facebook to have full access to user data.  In this post-NSA surveillance world, this can raise a number of red flags for people.

Chester had a meeting with the Federal Trade Commission and intends to discuss his concerns there.  Meanwhile, Moves continues to make waves; with its ability to track users’ movements, Facebook could find the information Moves gathers very interesting and therefore allow it to more effectively target its ads to its user base.

One possibility for the relatively new fitness tracking company is to ultimately allow its users the same sort of anonymity that Facebook is now making headlines for.  Whether or not this is a practical move for Moves, as it is a program that effectively runs in the background of the smartphone it’s installed on, remains to be seen.