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Does Facebook pay users to install an app that could collect all kinds of data from their phones?

Saheli Roy Chowdhury

According to TechCrunch on Tuesday evening, Facebook is secretly paying people to install an application that allows a tech giant to collect data on how they use their smartphones.

According to TechCrunch, since 2016, a giant of social networks has been paying teenagers and adults up to $ 20 a month, plus a referral fee to install the so-called Facebook Research application on their Apple or Android phones. To hide the direct involvement of Facebook, they say that the program is administered through the beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest and is called “Project Atlas”.

TechCrunch revealed that, according to a security expert, the application allows Facebook to collect data, including private messages in social networking applications, photos and videos sent, emails, Internet searches and web browsing. According to the report, it can also track current location information from other location tracking applications installed on the user's phone.

A Facebook spokesperson admitted to CNBC that the company is launching a program to collect data on usage habits.

“Like many companies, we invite people to take part in research that helps us determine what we can do better,” a spokesman said. “Because this study aims to help Facebook understand how people use their mobile devices, we have provided extensive information about the type of data we collect and how they can participate.”

“We do not share this information with others, and people can stop participating at any time,” the representative added.

Switching from Facebook could potentially be a violation of Apple’s policy, as many users of the program install the application on iPhone.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment, but a TechCrunch spokesman said the company was aware of the problem.

Last year, Apple removed the Onavo Facebook security app from the App Store, as it did not comply with the privacy rules, according to which the apps "should not collect information about which other apps are installed on the user's device."

Learn more about the TechCrunch report about how Facebook is paying users to install an application to collect data about them.

This article was first published by CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/29/facebook-paying-users-to-install-app-to-collect-data-techcrunch.html and published with permission.

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