Last year in March, it was reported that Facebook pushed its Onavo Protect VPN app to the iOS users. While VPNs are usually used as an extra privacy layer, this tool did the exact opposite — it tracked the users’ activity and collected their data. Later, Apple kicked off the app from App Store as it was violating the company’s terms and conditions.
Fast forward to 2019. Facebook has been caught using one more desperate tactic to grab as much data as possible. The company has been paying users to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that performs its job similar to Onavo Protect. The company pays the users of ages 13 to 35 up to $20 to install the app.
In case minors end up signing up for the app, they are prompted to ask for parental permission.
It further reads that while there are “no risks” involved with the project, one should acknowledge that “the project involves tracking of personal information via your child’s use of apps.”
This “research” tool grants the company full access to smartphone and web activity. To protect itself from the wrath of Apple’s policies, Facebook has been using third-party beta testing services named uTest, Applause, and BetaBound.
These beta services run ads on Snapchat and Instagram for a “paid social media research study.”
Talking to TechCrunch, Facebook has acknowledged this data collection program and it has no plans in the near future to stop it.
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