Facebook used an app to pay people as young as 13 years old to allow the company to monitor all their internet activity.
What's the story?
According to the website TechCrunch, Facebook used an iPhone and Android app called "Facebook Research" to gather data. This app would pay users, who ranged in age from 13 to 35, up to $20 a month, and in return it would send to Facebook information about that user's web activity. This has been going on since 2016.
When questioned about this, Facebook admitted to TechCrunch that these allegations were accurate. After that story broke, Facebook said it would shut down the Apple version of the app. For its part, Apple said that the app had been blocked before Facebook said that it had pulled it.
Despite discontinuing the app, Facebook has defended the app. In a statement to CNBC, the company said:
Key facts about this market research program are being ignored. Despite early reports, there was nothing "secret" about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn't "spying" as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate. Finally, less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.