Why we deleted Facebook (Sign-in option)

In the wake of the latest Facebook scandal regarding data privacy and electronic brainwashing, we want to give insight into why we chose to delete the Facebook Account Kit option in BodyBarista. Hardly anyone has missed the news about Cambridge Analytica, where 50 million users’ Facebook data was breached and paired with psychological profiling. The amount of private data unwillingly handed over to Facebook is also massive. If you have the Facebook app, you are constantly feeding the company with your whereabouts. Even your online presence is monitored; you have probably noticed Facebook ads mysteriously related to the websites outside of Facebook after just having visited them. The indignation and repulsiveness surrounding the #DeleteFacebook movement are rightly justified. 

Whether you decide to delete Facebook or not, it’s a good idea to take a look at what other apps you are using that might feed Facebook with data. At BodyBarista we decided to use Facebook Account kit in the past for an easy Sign-up/Login using any phone number or email. But in the last few weeks, we have been working on removing that connection. What we are interested in is that you make progress and get the hard-earned results on your body from your workout routine and lifestyle. Therefore we didn’t store your phone number or email which, for our purposes, we regarded as redundant information. But Facebook thought otherwise. When logging in, you still had to agree to Facebook’s Terms and Data Privacy. We made sure that your waistline and biceps measurements were never reaching Facebook, but we couldn’t stop Facebook from recording that you were using BodyBarista and how often.

Privacy #1: Location

In the Facebook app, your GPS location is constantly monitored. If you’re hanging out with a friend and meet a friend of their’s, you can bet that the person you just met will pop up as a suggested friend on Facebook later. There are ways to turn this off, but Facebook makes sure to constantly change their privacy settings. Personally, I’ve deleted the Facebook app and only use Facebook from the mobile browser. Fitness tracking apps like Strava, MapMyRun, and Nike + RunClub, all track your GPS location. The only problem for you (and sometimes national security) is the default sharing of your routes to the community. At BodyBarista, we’re using your location for a reason, and only if you opt-in. BodyBarista is free to use at your gym because we promote regular training. When you add a gym, your phone is sending your GPS location anonymously to Foursquare to create a list of gyms nearby. This data is never sent to us. When you’re taking your measurements at a gym, we only check for True or False value if you are at a previously added gym. Again, no location coordinates ever leave your phone.

Privacy #2: Identity

Way back, we had the option to link Facebook with BodyBarista, which meant that we got a list of your friends who used BodyBarista. When we updated BodyBarista with our US patent, we switched to email or your phone number which was facilitated by Facebook. Some of you became concerned that we were linking your measurements with your private phone number – but we didn’t. We were more concerned with the fact that Facebook, by facilitating the service, allowed themselves to track you as a BodyBarista user. With the latest update, we have been able to increase security while removing the Sign-up/Login altogether. This means that we do not get your private email nor phone number, and Facebook won’t be able to identify you as a BodyBarista user. A win-win for everyone (except Facebook).

In conclusion: we are serious about privacy. The current shit storm surrounding Facebook should be a reminder for both us as app developers, as well as you as a consumer, to constantly evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of giving away private data. We have chosen to make it as clear as possible by deleting Facebook for our app.

/ Peter Falk, CEO of BodyBarista

P.S.: Maybe now it’s a good time to really read our Privacy Policy …