Facebook convinced teens to sell their privacy for $20

Facebook pays users to install a VPN that collects their data

Facebook convinced teens to sell their privacy for $20

The "Facebook Research" VPN was offered to iOS and Android users who were paid up to $20 per month - plus referral commissions - to provide the social network with near-unfettered access to phone, app and web usage data (a Root Certificate is installed to give a terrifying level of access).

Apple's policy requires any apps that use its Enterprise Certificate programme, and thus do not go through Apple's App Store, to only be used internally by company employees.

As highlighted by TechCrunch, the Facebook Research app sent data to an address which is affiliated with Onavo, a VPN app which was pulled by Facebook last August after Apple warned that the app violated its policies on data gathering. "Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data".

Warner also asked Facebook for a fuller accounting of how it came to approve the apps, which had deep access to track activity on mobile phones, including apps that Facebook was competing with.

Facebook says fewer than 5 percent of the app's users were teens and they had parental permission.

Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch has learned.

Facebook said it shut down the app after the report, but denies it was misleading.

According to a report, Facebook has been collecting users' personal data for 3 years: nothing surprising is it?

Apple has responded to the news that Facebook used their special developer program, created to let companies share apps internally, to target a privacy-invasive VPN towards teenagers.

The Facebook Research app looks to be Onavo Protect in a new form, with the data-protection feature replaced by a monthly payment.

"We designed out Enterprise Developer Program exclusively for the internal distribution of apps within an organization".

Update: 9:50am: This post was updated with a confirmation from Facebook that Apple's revocation impacted its internal apps as well.

"Like many companies, we invite people to participate in research that helps us identify things we can be doing better", the spokesperson told CNBC in an emailed statement.

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.

Apple has blocked an app made by Facebook which paid users to track their internet usage. Information is also collected on how other people interact with users and their content within those apps, according to the disclosure. It's unclear if Apple will revoke this certificate in response to this blatant breach of its terms. Instead, he said Facebook was scooping up all incoming and outgoing data traffic from unwitting members of the public - in an app geared toward teenagers. This month, in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg said "we're all distrustful of systems we don't understand". Users are only informed that the app is called "Facebook Research" until just before they install the program.

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