Facebook will end a controversial market research program that violated the Apple developer guidelines in order to collect data from the users of the volunteer telephones. The company said Wednesday afternoon that the Facebook Research application, which offers volunteers between the ages of 13 and 35 monthly gift cards of $ 20 in exchange for almost total access to the data of their phones , will no longer be available in iOS. Apparently, it will continue to be available to Android users.
TechCrunch reported on Tuesday that the company has been paying gift cards to people aged 13 to 35 in return for installing an application called Facebook Research in iOS and Android. The application supervises your phone and web activity and sends it back to Facebook for market research purposes.
Facebook previously compiled similar data using Onavo Protect, a VPN service that it acquired in 2013. The company has used the data to identify current competitors, and then acquire or clone them. Facebook eliminated the App Store application last summer after Apple complained that it violated the store's store guidelines for data collection.
The Search application requires users to install a custom root certificate, which allows Facebook to see private messages from users, emails, web searches and navigation activity. This is an apparent violation of Apple's system level functionality, which aims to give employers access to employees' work devices. The policy prohibits developers from installing certificates on client phones.
In a statement, Facebook opposed parts of TechCrunchYour report.
"The basics about this market research program are being ignored," the company said. "Despite the first reports, there was nothing" secret "about it; literally it was called the Facebook search application. It was not" spy "since all the people who signed up to participate took a process Clear boarding time asking for your permission and paid to participate. Finally, less than 5 percent of people who chose to participate in this market research program were teenagers. All of them with forms of signed parental consent ".
The company also denied that Facebook Research was intended to replace Onavo, although it did not respond to evidence that the applications shared similar code.