Facebook has started a campaign with the help of which users with ages between 13 and 25 were able to choose to become guinea pigs for Facebook. Precisely, Facebook paid up to $20 / month to users who opted to install the app dubbed Facebook Research.

Built for iOS and Android, the Facebook Research app comes with root access on iPhone smartphones and can monitor everything that’s happening on a smartphone: browsing history, private conversations, everything ending up on Facebook’s servers.

Before Facebook Research, the social network used Onavo Protect in order to aggressively collect information about users, a VPN service Facebook purchased in 2013.However, last year Facebook had to remove the application from the App Store after Apple noticed that the app is breaching the rules regarding privacy.

The data collected turned out to be very valuable as it helped Facebook identify competitors that were able to pose a threat to Facebook’s domination on the social networking market and this way Facebook was able to block the rise of rivals by buying them or by shamelessly copying unique features developed by them.

Facebook Research is a bit more transparent with users who decide to become guinea pigs for money, however it appears that it also breaches the Apple terms of use. Precisely, we’re talking about using Root Access, usually included in apps used by business clients to access the employees work phones. However the Facebook Research app is installed on the personal phones of users.

Earlier, Facebook Research volunteers were even attracted with ads on Instagram and Snapchat with the help of a company called Applause. What is interesting is that the volunteers were only notified that they are part of a paid social media study, without Facebook being mentioned anywhere.


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