Facebook was at the center of another scandal — as claimed by the media, the social network paid people aged 13 to 35 years for the opportunity to follow them via a mobile app. The company has received access to personal messages, chats, emails and search history in the browser.
Come the new year, which means it’s time for new scandals to Facebook. The portal TechCrunch has learned about the Atlas project, whose goal was to collect private information about users and their daily consumption of mobile content.
The social network paid people aged 13 to 35 years for $20 per month for the VPN setup, which is called Facebook Research. Then the daily user activity in the Internet got to the Facebook experts for analysis.
It is found that for a small fee, the company was able to collect a large number of various data — personal user messages in social networks, chat messengers, including posted photos and videos, emails, search history, activity on the browser and even information about the geolocation of a person at a particular moment.
It is not known what data from the above interested in Facebook, but it is obvious that after installing the application, the company gets almost full access to the user’s device.
The administration of Facebook said that is not going to close the project “Atlas” even now, when information about it was leaked.
“Like many other companies, we invite people to participate in the study to identify those areas which we could improve. As this study is intended to help Facebook to understand how people use their mobile devices, we will notify users about what information we collect, and how they can participate. We didn’t share these data, and the user may discontinue participation in the project at any moment”, — said the representative of the social network.
Thus, the company does not violate the law because all the terms of the contract carefully prescribed, and the user understands what he is. However, the media is alarming attitude Facebook, whose audience is 2 billion people, to the privacy of its users.
Among other things, to join the Atlas from 13 years — at this age the teenager may not even realize what he signed, and mindlessly accept monetary compensation, the receipt of which does not require complex actions.
TechCrunch also drew attention to the fact that the collection of information by Facebook application Research directly violates the policy of Apple and its iOS operating system. After the publication of the material Facebook has released an official statement in which it announced the termination of its project on “Apple” devices. On smartphones the Android app is still available.
In addition, a representative of Facebook has published a further statement regarding the “Atlas”.
“[The material], ignored key facts of this research programme. Despite reports in the media, there is nothing “secret”, it’s called Facebook Research. It is not “spying”, since all the users have given their consent to the processing of data and get paid for it. In addition, less than 5% of the participants are teenagers. Their parents have approved participation in the project”, — said the employee of the company.
However, Facebook is not advertised is the Atlas project publicly, using intermediaries to distribute your application — users often do not even know that the social network Zuckerberg was involved in this program as long as you have not started the registration process.
Despite the fact that the project participants were warned about the consequences in the instructions does not contain a full list of the information that Facebook can get by using VPN.
As for the relatively small number of adolescents in the project, the decision of Facebook to use a adult for collecting personal information is very doubtful.
Last year Facebook became the figurant of the scandal connected with Cambridge Analytica, which has received access to personal data 87 million users of the social network. Because of this massive leak, the General Director of Facebook mark Zuckerberg was summoned to Congress to testify.
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