Tuesday January 21, 2020
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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.

Facebook
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.

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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

US Judge Orders Facebook to Disclose Malicious Apps’ Data: Report

The social networking giant found that the apps -- primarily social media management and video streaming apps -- retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface)

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

As part of a probe ordered in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users, a US judge has ordered Facebook to hand over data of thousands of apps that violated its user privacy.

Facebook admitted last year that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for possible privacy violations.

A Massachusetts judge rejected the social networking giant’s attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators, The Washington Post said in a report on Friday.

“We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Court didn’t fully consider our arguments on well-established law. We are reviewing our options, including appeal,” a Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was quoted as saying in the report.

Maura Healey, the Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts, said: “We are pleased that the Court ordered Facebook to tell our office which other app developers may have engaged in conduct like Cambridge Analytica.”

facebook, instant games
FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The state of Massachusetts launched the probe last September after Facebook admitted that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review, launched in 2018, followed revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted in a record-breaking, $5 billion fine for Facebook from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Also Read: I Fall in Love with India Every Time I Return Here: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

In November 2019, Facebook revealed that at least 100 app developers may have accessed Facebook users’ data for months, confirming that at least 11 partners “accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days”.

The social networking giant found that the apps — primarily social media management and video streaming apps — retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface). (IANS)