In the latest revelation to raise privacy concerns about Silicon Valley’s tech titans, reports have surfaced that Facebook and Google offered adults and teens gift cards for installing apps that would let the companies collect data on their smartphones.
TechCrunch reported Tuesday that, since 2016, Facebook has been paying users — some as young as 13 years old — up to $20 a month to install an app called Facebook Research. The app could give Facebook access to private messages, photos, videos, emails, web searches and browsing activity, the tech news site reported.
…Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on Twitter: “Wait a minute. Facebook PAID teenagers to install a surveillance device on their phones without telling them it gave Facebook power to spy on them? Some kids as young as 13. Are you serious? “
…This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of going to extreme lengths to get user data. In 2013, it bought a company called Onavo and allegedly used the Onavo app to get more information about WhatsApp, a competing messaging platform that Facebook ultimately bought for $19 billion.