What happens when Facebook knows every step you take, every move you make?
On April 24, the team behind fitness-tracking app Moves was purchased by Facebook for an undisclosed sum. The company assured users that it wouldn’t commingle data with Facebook. Ten days later it announced
with the social network. Facebook now claims it will only use the shared data to provide support, but since it already lied once, and the social network has a checkered past of giving privacy the cold shoulder, we’re skeptical.
That got us wondering: what could Facebook do if it knew exactly where all its users were every minute of the day?
Data, say hello to advertisers
Facebook, like Google, makes its money by selling the information you have to advertisers. Traditionally, these companies buy ads on your News Feed page that are targeted at you based on the things you’ve Liked and talked about on Facebook. That is why you might not see the same ads as someone else. With Moves data, Facebook has a host of new information to sell to advertisers. Moves knows exactly how many steps you take, where you take them, and where you stop and hang out every day. If you use Moves, or an app that relies on it, Facebook is essentially able to watch you.
There are a lot of possibilities for targeted ads:
Ads for the aspiring, but still sedentary user:
You could end up seeing more ads about gym memberships if Facebook notices you haven’t been running a lot. Or maybe Facebook figures out that you’re addicted to trying to get fit, but always fail to ever reach your goals. Well-tailored ads could sucker you into buying something you don’t want.
Feeding the fitness addict:
On the other hand, if you
been running or riding your bike a lot, you could see advertisements for things such as running shoes, socks, and other assorted running gear, as well as marathons, protein bars, and more.
Walking past a Starbucks?
Since Moves tracks where you are, Facebook could sell local ads to any business you frequent or walk by. It may even know exactly where you stop for coffee each morning.
Insurance companies gain a watchful eye
Insurance companies could theoretically buy Moves data from Facebook. For years,
. Integrating health and fitness information could be a goldmine for Facebook, but also for insurers.
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