Weight Watchers child data harvesting

March 2022

The company formerly known as Weight Watchers collected data on children under 13 through Kurbo, a weight loss app it owns, according to a US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement order.

The FTC says hundreds of children were able to sign up to use Kurbo using false birthdays without parental permission and could then change their ages once they had registered.

Kurbo also failed to inform parents about its data-collection practices for kids, and kept the data for many years, possibly to help develop other services.

The FTC has ordered WW International (aka Weight Watchers) to 'destroy any algorithms derived from the data', and to pay a USD 1.5 million penalty.

Since Kurbo was acquired by Weight Watchers in 2018, the weight loss app has been the subject of regular criticism from dietitions and others.

Operator: WW International/Weight Watchers/Kurbo
Developer:
WW International/Weight Watchers/Kurbo
Country:
USA
Sector:
Consumer goods
Purpose:
Manage eating habits
Technology:
Application
Issue:
Privacy; Appropriateness/need
Opacity:
Governance; Privacy; Marketing