Facebook: Moves Is 'Sharing' Data, Not 'Commingling'

May 08, 2014 04:24 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Facebook appears to be using semantics to defend changes to the Moves fitness app, one of the social network's recent acquisitions.

After some users objected to new wording in the Moves privacy policy, a Facebook spokesman told The Guardian that Moves data will stay separate from Facebook data because the app is "sharing" user information, not "commingling" it.

With further clarification, it seems as if Facebook is investing resources into Moves, which is backed by a small team that needed Facebook's support and services.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company vows that Facebook and Moves are still separate, with the fitness app keeping its own discrete accounts. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the changes to the Moves privacy policy earlier this week. On Monday, the terms were updated to read: "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."

Users have become increasingly aware that Facebook and other companies use their browsing data and personal information to target them with ads. Privacy advocates are uneasy about Facebook's recent purchases, including Moves and the 500 million-user messaging service WhatsApp.

According to The Guardian, Moves members sounded off on Twitter after the change, saying they were deleting their Moves app because the information would be shared with Facebook.

 "It's still a loss of privacy, but they're covering it up with semantics," Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, told WSJ. "This raises very disturbing privacy concerns."

After two privacy groups formally complained about Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, the Federal Trade Commission issued a letter to publicly warn the company not to violate user privacy.

Industry watchdogs have been concerned that Facebook may exploit the amount of data gathered by the messaging service, which is especially popular overseas.

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