Despite the recent data breach case involving Facebook, the company is still actively trying to access user’s activities and personal data to stay ahead of the competition.
According to research published by TechCrunch, Facebook calls it the “Facebook Research” VPN, but don’t let the name misguide its purpose.
This app collects all the information available in the user’s phone, including their web activities, downloads, apps used/installed/deleted, etc.
Previously, Facebook came up with a similar campaign called the Facebook’s Onavo Protect app, which was just another data collection method.
On theses grounds, Apple banned the application and removed it from its app store.
As for the its latest attempt to gather user data, Facebook is targeting people in the age bracket of 13 to 35 since 2016. It offers incentive, $20 a month plus referral fees, simply for installing the Facebook Research app on Android or iOS.
What follows is even more shocking! Facebook has asked users to send their order history of Amazon to analyze behaviors and spending habits.
Facebook is hiding itself behind the curtains by administering these activities via beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest. In some documentation, it is referred to as ‘Project Atlas’. The name pretty much speaks for itself.
Guardian Mobile Firewall’s security expert Will Strafach says that “If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data:
private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.”
While Facebook is conducting these activities, it is not fearing being banned from the app store for disobeying iOS policies again.
Strafach further says, “The fairly technical sounding ‘install our Root Certificate’ step is appalling, this hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this.”
‘If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.’
Time and again, Facebook has indirectly shown its intent to collect user data. To what extent is it ethical to ask users under 18 for private data and activities is a question that is not hard to answer.
VPN services purpose is it protects users’ privacy, but to use it for exploiting one’s personal life is disgusting therefore use one of our recommended Facebook VPN
Will the authorities take action against Facebook? Will its apps face the axe from other app stores and follow Apple’s footsteps? Or will Facebook continue to find new ways to exploit users data? Only time will tell how things turn out!
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