Facebook got caught with their hands in the data mining cookie jar. Again. This time, it seems that they are paying users twenty dollars to install a program that sidesteps a system Apple disallowed last year. And people are falling for it.
Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook’s involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as “Project Atlas” — a fitting name for Facebook’s effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.
Oops. Tech Crunch’s report, one that a Facebook official confirmed, prompted Apple to make a statement regarding the program and its nefarious purpose.
But on Wednesday morning, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that Facebook violated its policies, and it had blocked Facebook’s Research app on Tuesday before the social network seemingly pulled it voluntarily (without mentioning it was forced to do so). You can read our full report ont the development here.
An Apple spokesperson provided this statement. “We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization,” said a spokesperson. “Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. 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.”
It should be very obvious at this point that Facebook is all about data mining, be it to sell the information, or for some other purpose. Whatever it is, in the past the face of the platform has lamented that people don’t put personal information on it nearly as much as he would like. Maybe this is why, Mark.