Facebook reportedly used VPN app that paid users to spy on their data

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It appears as if Facebook is up to its old tricks again and cannot seem to keep its hands off of user data.

In a report by TechCrunch, the social media giant has been found to have used a VPN-based app to gather data from users. What is even more peculiar is the fact that it has been paying users, aged between 13 and 35, up to $20 a month in order to gather said data.

Furthermore TechCrunch reached out to Facebook for comment, and the company has apparently acknowledged the fact that it has been gathering data, and has given no indication that it intends to stop any time soon.

The app in question is called Facebook Research and it gives the firm root access to network traffic, allowing them to decrypt and analyse data on their device. It appears as if this was specifically targeted to iOS device users, and if true could be a serious violation of Apple’s app policy, as TechCrunch points out.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has pulled such a stunt either, having had their Ovano Protect app banned by Apple in June last year for similar tactics, and then being removed in August of 2018.

At this stage it’s unclear what kind of action Apple will take, with CEO Tim Cook repeatedly criticising Facebook for their data collection practices. As such Apple could move to block Facebook from distributing its Research app, which would no doubt bring greater strain on both tech companies relationship.

If this latest development shows anything, it’s that social media platform will go to any lengths in order to secure its market dominance.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.