Facebook Paid Teens to Access All Their Chats, Photos, Emails and Location

Facebook Paid Teens to Access All Their Chats, Photos, Emails and Location

Facebook Paid Teens to Access All Their Chats, Photos, Emails and Location

The VPN app, called Facebook Research, but referred to as "Project Atlas" in company documentation, provides absolute access to a device's network data.

The Silicon Valley social networking giant has been paying teens and adults up to $20 a month to spy on their phones, their data, and the apps they use, according to a new report from TechCrunch -raising fresh concerns over the company's approach to user privacy.

Facebook has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment about Apple's decision.

"We designed our Enterprise Developer Program exclusively for the internal distribution of apps within an organization", a company representative told reporters.

The Facebook Research app was developed for iOS and Android devices and requires a root certificate to be installed on sign-up, which gives the system deeper access to devices than the majority of other apps on the market.

Apple offers what are known as certificates that let businesses have deep controls over iPhones, with the potential to remotely install apps, monitor app usage and access, and delete data owned by a business on an iPhone. The app then shows users how to sideload an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app and tracks one's traffic and data through the VPN.

Facebook defended its programme, saying it was doing not wrong and that only a small percentage of people was underage.

Facebook had said it the iOS app from its program, but it looks as if Apple beat them to it. Despite early reports, there was nothing "secret" about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App.

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Whether Facebook users who signed up for this program truly understood its implications is up for debate.

"All of them signed parental consent forms", the spokesperson said. What the revocation targets is their ability to distribute apps that offers an internal testing period with developers before the program itself goes live to the public.

It claims the app was installed with testing services normally used for software still in development, meaning it was able to bypass Apple's App Store for installation.

The program is being used to gather data on any up-and-coming rival apps as well as to collect large amounts of data on the usage habits on teenagers, according to an investigation by the website TechCrunch.

Facebook said Wednesday it is shutting down the app to Apple customers. This type of data gathering can not be done using an App Store app.

The news could be a further embarrassment for Facebook, which has been under heightened scrutiny over failing to crack down on manipulation of its platform and for sharing private data with its business partners. This program is intended for companies to install internal apps and beta versions on employee devices via special iOS certificates. "We don't share this information with others and people can stop participating at any time", as told by a Facebook spokesperson to TechCrunch.

Strafach, who is CEO of Guardian Mobile Firewall, said he was aghast to discover Facebook caught red-handed violating Apple's trust.

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.

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