Facebook was recently caught extracting data from its “research” app in exchange of $20 gift cards. Apple punished the social media company by revoking its Enterprise Certificate for a brief period. It has been now found that thousands of Indian users were a part of the data extraction project.
According to a report by LiveMint, over 48,000 Indian users used the Facebook Research app and earned via referrals in exchange for his or her data.
One such user named Harshit Ahuja suggests that he ensured around 500 to 700 installs of the app and earned up to $7,000 to date. Additionally, he said that he knew of the app’s nature, therefore, installed the app in a secondary device to avoid much data being shared.
Another user, Vishal Darsheel, hinted at earnings of $5,000 via the Research app and had endorsed the app via Google Forms on Quora to get as many referrals as he could.
The report further suggests that the Facebook Research app was advertised via YouTube videos and a link to the video has been shared.
For those who don’t know, Facebook was paying users (up to $20) to download the Facebook Research VPN to access the user data (access to smartphone and internet activity). The process involved mostly teenagers, aged between 13 and 35 years. Underaged people were required to provide parental consent.
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Ever since the app’s purposes went public, Facebook has not been allowing for new sign-ups, and the cost of referrals has reportedly gone down.
Facebook’s obsession with acquiring users’ data seems to be crossing its limits, and it’s high time that some severe measures are taken.
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