Facebook Bribed Teenagers $20 Million To Access Their Private Data
Teenagers private messages and online ordering history is being invaded.
Winning in an industry doesn’t come easy, it does involve thorough market research to gain information on competitors. Competition is strong, sure, but to what lengths will one go to collect data on competitors? Is paying someone, teenagers specifically, for an invasion of privacy considered ok?
In a piece of shocking news that has surfaced, Facebook has admitted to paying teenagers to install a ‘Facebook Research’ app that lets the company access their phones for their personal data and to ‘know how they use their smartphones.’
$ 20 for ‘Limitless Access’
As per reports, Facebook paid people within the age line of 13 to 35 a sum of $ 20 a month and asked them to install an app called Facebook Research. Additionally, they also offered a referral fee along with the basic $ 20. This app used Apple’s business tools to ask permissions from iPhone users to install VPN software onto their Apple iPhones. This software then tracked what these people did on their phones, with ‘nearly limitless access’, including watching over people’s private messages and track their browsing habits.
What is even more outrageous – Facebook even asked the users for a screenshot of their Amazon order history page!
On interrogation, Facebook’s spokesperson said, “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.”
Previous Attempt – Onavo Protect
This app, ‘Facebook Research’ is similar to a previous app by Facebook – Onavo Protect app. This app was banned by Apple in June followed by its removal in August. This VPN app helped Facebook gain deep analytical information about the other apps being used by users while helping them track and minimize their mobile data plan.
Apparently, Onavo allowed Facebook to obtain information about Whatsapp’s progress, which is why Facebook bought the popular chat platform in 2014. Onavo went on to help Facebook climb the ladder of success and popularity by providing recommendations on what features from which apps should be copied, features to be included and avoided as well!
Apple soon found Onavo Protect guilty of spying on other apps that were not required for it to function, updated its security policy and banished it.
Yes, that is the name of this ‘research’ initiative that Facebook has come up with. Absolutely ignoring the ban by Apple, Facebook continued with this appalling idea and named it Project Atlas – which suits the company’s actions: tracking competitors and newest trends globally.
Is Facebook’s attempt to obtain competitors’ information ethical? Share your opinions with us right here in the comments section.