Facebook has launched a program to collect intimate user data from paid volunteers over the past three years, a new report said. TechCrunch reported that the company paid $ 20 to people aged 13 to 25 to install an app called Facebook Research for iOS or Android that monitors their phone and web activity and to them resend Facebook. The company confirmed the existence of the research program at TechCrunch .
Facebook previously collected some of this information about Onavo Protect, a VPN service it acquired in 2013. The data has proven to be extremely valuable to Facebook when it comes to identifying, acquiring or cloning emerging competitors. Facebook removed the app from the App Store last summer after Apple complained that it violated the App Store's data collection policies.
The Research App requires that users install a custom root certificate that allows Facebook to display users' private messages, emails, web searches, and browser activity. In addition, users will be prompted to take screenshots of their Amazon order history and send it to Facebook.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
The program appears to violate Apple's policy for developers who use enterprise certificates to grant root access to iPhones. Certificates that allow employers to access employees 'work equipment should not be installed on customers' phones. TechCrunch reported that a Facebook spokesman said the program was not against Apple's policies, but could not explain how.
Facebook has taken steps to hide its involvement in the project until it installs the app. TechCrunch reports. Beta Testing Services Applause, BetaBound, and uTest provide all services related to the research program:
Facebook began marketing its Research VPN app in 2016. It has been called Project Atlas since at least mid-2018, and Onavo Protect has been introduced and Apple has introduced its new rules, which Onavo banned. Facebook did not stop collecting data on the use of mobile phones, and the research program continued, with Apple ignoring Onavo Protect's ban.
Ads (see below) for the program searched by uTest on Instagram and Snapchat 13-17 years old for a "Paid Social Media Research Study". The sign-up page for the Applause-managed Facebook research program does not mention Facebook, but seeks users "ages: 13-35 (parental consent at the age of 13-17 years))."
If Apple decides that Facebook Research violates its policies The company could block the use of company certificates and exacerbate the already high tensions between companies, and in the meantime, we've seen Facebook increase the smallest details of our lives for $ 20 a month.