Facebook is at it again. The social media company has been found to be paying teens and adults $20 a month in exchange for almost unrestricted access to their phone’s data and collect their online behaviors and activities.

Facebook confirmed the move and said all of this is part of a research program aimed at collecting a user’s phone activity. The social media company also justified the act saying the information thus collected is used to better fine-tune their services and offers in order to provide a more customized user experienced each time. The research is being conducted since 2016.

Facebook also said they aren’t sharing the information thus collected with any third party organization while participants too are open to leaving the research program anytime that want. The company further added they are only collecting the info they need to have a better idea of how users of a particular age group use their mobile devices.

The research is fuelled about by the VPN app ‘Face Research’ which the company is encouraging 13 to 35-year-olds to install on their phones. Money offered is $20 a month with referral fees added extra. The app is being distributed via beta testing services BetaBound, uTest, and Applause. Not surprisingly, the sign-in page has no direct mention of their intentions, that Facebook is being provided access to the subscriber’s data.

As for the sort of info that Facebook is getting access to include anything that the user is searching online, location information, private messages exchanged in social circles, images or videos shared on chat apps and so on. Facebook is even asking users to screenshot items they have brought at Amazon.

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Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Facebook has been found to be indulging in the data mining business. Earlier, it was found collecting more data than it should via the Onavo Project app before it got banned from the Apple App Store, with Facebook too getting rid of the app a few months later. This time, however, Facebook has said they aren’t stopping just yet with its latest Facebook Research app. However, they are retiring the app for iOS platform but it will remain active on PlayStore.


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