Facebook paid users to track smartphone use: report

2019-01-30 18:56
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Facebook paid users, including teens, to track their smartphone activity as part of an effort to glean more data that could help the social network's competition efforts, according to a new report that may raise fresh privacy concerns.

An investigation by the online news site TechCrunch said the effort, which had been known as the Onavo Protect and later rebaptized as Facebook Research, was used to gather data on usage habits.

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.

Facebook said it shut down the application on Apple's iOS on Wednesday after the TechCrunch article was published. It remained unclear if it remained active for Android users.

The report said the initial Onavo app was shuttered for violating Apple's privacy policy and that the newer version may also contravene Apple's terms.

The programme paid users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 a month for "root" access to their devices to track their location, app usage, spending habits and other activity.

In a statement to AFP, Facebook said there was "nothing secret" about its efforts, and that Onavo and Facebook Research were separate programmes.

"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," the Facebook statement said.

"Finally, less than 5% of the people who chose to participate in this market research programme were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms."

The project may have allowed Facebook to scoop up more data about younger users as it fends off a challenge from rival services like Snapchat, which has become more popular than Facebook among US teens.

Read more on:    facebook
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.