WASHINGTON – Facebook paid users, including teenagers, to track the activity of their smartphones as part of efforts to collect more data that could help competition efforts on the social network, according to a new report that could cause new privacy issues
A study by the TechCrunch news site revealed that the efforts, which were known as the Onavo project and then renamed Facebook Research, were used to collect data on usage habits.
This news could be another embarrassment for Facebook, which is undergoing increased attention due to its inability to stop manipulating its platform and sharing personal data with its business partners.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook said it closed the app on Apple's iOS on Wednesday after publishing the article, but apparently left it active for Android users.
The program paid users between the ages of $ 13 and $ 35 to $ 20 per month for “root” access to their devices to track their location, use of applications, spending habits and other activities.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook argued that there was nothing secret about this effort and that he received parental consent for teens where it was needed.
In a statement, AFP Facebook stated that there was “nothing secret” in its efforts, and that Onavo and Facebook Research were separate programs.
"This was not" espionage ", because all the people who signed up to participate, went through a clear procedure for obtaining permission to participate and received a reward," – said in a statement to Facebook.
“Finally, less than five percent of the people who decided to participate in this market research program were teenagers. All of them are with signed parental consent forms. ”