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Social Media Giant Facebook Paid Teenagers $20 To Access Their Data: Report

Facebook previously collected similar data using "Onavo" Protect, a virtual private network (VPN) service that it acquired in 2013

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Facebook, Fake News
Facebook 'tricked' kids, parents to spend money on 'free' games: Report. VOA

In a bizarre development, Facebook has been found to be secretly paying teenagers $20 each, asking them to install a “Facebook Research” app that lets the company access personal data to know how they use their smartphones.

According to a TechCrunch report on Tuesday, the social media giant was running the research programme to gather data on usage habits and it has no plans to stop.

Facebook has decided to pull the plug on the app from all Apple devices.

“Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so that the social network can decrypt and analyse their phone activity,” the report said.

Facebook, Fake News
A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. Facebook has made changes to fight false information, including de-emphasizing proven false stories in people’s feeds so others are less likely to see them. VOA

However, the app will remain available for Android users.

A security expert was quoted as saying that the app allows Facebook to collect data including private social media messages, photos and videos sent via instant messaging apps, emails, web searches and web browsing activities.

Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users aged 13 to 35 up to $20 per month, plus referral fees, to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app, said the report.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook reacted, saying “key facts about this market research programme are being ignored”.

“Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate,” said the company.

Also Read- Society Can’t Accept Negative Traits in Heroes, Says Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Facebook previously collected similar data using “Onavo” Protect, a virtual private network (VPN) service that it acquired in 2013.

The company also denied that “Facebook Research” was intended to replace “Onavo”. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Rolls Out an Update to Rank Comments on Public Posts to Make Conversations Meaningful

The users can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting or engaging with comments

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Facebook will now start showing comments on public posts more prominently when the comments have interactions from the page or the person who originally posted or from friends of the person who posted. Pixabay

In a move to make conversations on public posts more meaningful, Facebook has rolled out an update where it will rank comments to promote those that are most relevant to users.

Facebook will now start showing comments on public posts more prominently when the comments have interactions from the page or the person who originally posted or from friends of the person who posted.

“We will continue to take other signals into account so we do not prominently show low-quality comments, even if they are from the person who made the original post or their friends,” Justine Shen, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a statement on Friday.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

The users can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting or engaging with comments. Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking.

ALSO READ: Facebook Now Expands Ad Breaks to Marathi, Punjabi, Kannada and Telugu

People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings.

“We want people to see safe and authentic comments. If a comment violates our community standards, we remove it. “We also take into account other signals, like engagement-bait, to address the integrity of information and improve the quality of comments people see,” said Facebook. (IANS)