Already in headlines, Facebook is being investigated by the online news site TechCrunch which claimed that the effort, which had been known as the Onavo Protect and later rebaptized as Facebook Research, was used to gather data on usage habits.
Apple has also given a statement about it to AFP telling that it revoked software certificates letting Facebook take part in its Enterprise Developer Program to work in-house on applications for the Cupertino-based company´s devices.
“Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple,” Apple said.
This claim could prove to be more troublesome for Facebook as it is under heightened scrutiny over failing to crack down on manipulation of its platform and for sharing private data with its business partners.
In response to the TechCrunch article about this claim, Facebook has shut down the application for Apple´s iOS on Wednesday. However, it is still unclear that it remained active for Android users.
The program paid users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 a month for “root” access to their devices to track their location, app usage, spending habits and other activity.
Facebook officials have replied in the defence that there is “nothing secret” about its efforts and that Onavo and Facebook Research were separate programs.
“It wasn´t ´spying´ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear onboarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate,” the Facebook statement said.
“Finally, less than five percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.”
It can be imagined that Facebook is mostly collecting the data of people in their teens as the Facebook rival Snapchat is becoming more popular among this group