Facebook has quietly been running a “Facebook Research” VPN app for years that offered teens, including minors, up to $20 per month in exchange for access to all of their private data, including private messages, photos and videos, and even real-time location, according to a new investigation report by TechCrunch.
This “Facebook Research” application is a direct successor to Onavo, the VPN app that Facebook used to mine data about user habits and use of third-party apps, but had shut down by Apple in August. The ban came after Cupertino changed its terms to explicitly ban apps from collecting data about third-party applications that is not needed. Facebook’s Onavo VPN app was secretly spying on users and gathering private information while officially its goal was to minimize mobile data usage.
Clearly, Onavo VPN was in violation of Apple’s rules then, but rather than abandoning the practice, Facebook has launched the Research VPN app that is not published on the App Store, but rather distributed as a developer package using a certificate system only intended for distribution of corporate apps to employees. This is a direct violation of Apple’s terms and services. Also, to bypass the App Store’s rigorous review process, Facebook is using beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to deliver the application and to conceal its own involvement.
the remainder of this article canoe seen at Phone Arena