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Facebook paying users to install app to collect data: TechCrunch

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.

Stephen Lam | Reuters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.

Facebook has been paying people in secret to install an app that allows the tech giant to collect data on how they use their smartphones, TechCrunch reported Tuesday evening.

Since 2016, the social networking giant has been paying teenagers and adults up to $20 a month plus referral fees to install the so-called “Facebook Research” app on their Apple or Android phones, according to TechCrunch. To mask Facebook’s direct involvement, the program is said to be administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest and is referred to as “Project Atlas.”

TechCrunch revealed that according to a security expert, the app allows Facebook to collect data including private messages in social media apps, photos and videos to sent, emails, web searches and web browsing activities. It can also track ongoing location information from other location tracking apps installed in the user’s phone, according to the report.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Imagala.com’s emailed request for comments. The tech company did admit to TechCrunch that it was running the program to gather data on usage habits.

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