Facebook is paying some kids to access their data

Facebook is paying some kids to access their data

To use the Facebook Research app, the user is required to install a Facebook Enterprise Developer Certificate and "trust" it, so that the company can have root access to phone and usage data.

Despite the fact the programme is officially only aimed at employees, Facebook recruited non-employees and paid them up to $20 a month to use the app in exchange for giving the company access to the users' internet history and other private information.

Apple Inc said on Wednesday it had banned Facebook Inc from a program created to let businesses control iPhones used by their employees, saying the social networking company had improperly used it to track the web-browsing habits of teenagers.

At first, the app monitors the phone of the volunteers and their web activity, and then it sends the gathered data back to Facebook for market research purposes. The program wasn't just sketchy - it also blatantly violated Apple's developer guidelines.

"We designed our Enterprise Developer Programme exclusively for the internal distribution of apps within an organisation", Apple said in a statement.

Make sure to read the full report from TechCrunch by hitting the source link below as it provides an incredibly detailed picture of Facebook's shady practices.

Facebook, though, used the certificate to sign a market research iPhone application that folks could install it on their devices.

After news broke of the so-called Facebook Research app, Facebook pulled the app from Apple's app store - although lucky Android users will still be able to install it.

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"Like many companies, we invite people to participate in research that helps us identify things we can be doing better", a Facebook spokesperson said.

In response to the report, Facebook suggested the programme had been misrepresented. "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 spokesperson. There are some instances when our client will collect this information even where the app uses encryption, or from within secure browser sessions. "Less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens".

While Facebook maintains that parental consent should be acquired before minors use the app, reporters discovered that the check is no more than a simple tick-box.

Eagle-eyed researchers spotted that the Facebook Research app bore striking similarities with the controversial Onavo Protect App, which Apple banned from the App Store in August a year ago.

When Apple banned its Onavo VPN app from its App Store last summer, Facebook took repackaged the app, named it "Facebook Research" and offered it for download through three app beta testing services, TechCrunch has discovered.

On late Tuesday night, Facebook said it was ending the use of the app on Apple devices.

"To my eyes, this action constitutes Facebook declaring war on Apple's iOS privacy protections". The company is now unable to distribute internal, early versions of its apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram to developers and employees internally.

With its certificate revoked, Facebook employees are reporting that their legitimate internal apps, also signed by the cert, have stopped working.

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