It seems that Facebook is in deep water again!

Remember in 2013 when Facebook was ordered to remove their app, Onavo Protect from the App Store for violating App Store guidelines! This was because the app gathered data to identify up-and-coming competitors, then acquire or clone them.

So you’d think Facebook would learn from this, right?

WRONG.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Facebook have a very suspicious app called Facebook Research; which has now been banned on IOS due to the program violating Apple developer guidelines.

Sound familiar?

This app offers volunteers aged 13-35 vouchers in exchange for their information. The app has near-total access to the user’s data, as it monitors their phones and web activity, creating a report and sending it straight back to Facebook for market research purposes.

To gain the vouchers, the user must install a custom root certificate, giving Facebook the ability to see users’ private messages, emails, web searches, and browsing activity, and this is where they violate Apple’s policies.

Now I get you may be thinking; The app is very invasive although if people are giving their consent for it then why is it so wrong?

Well, the BBC signed up to the Facebook Research App, posing as a 14-year-old boy and reported that not once were they asked for parental consent and was allowed to have full reign of the app despite only being ’14’.

Now, this is a problem…

Facebook responded with ‘like many companies, we invite people to participate in research that helps us identify things we can be doing better, Since this research is aimed at helping Facebook understand how people use their mobile devices, we’ve provided extensive information about the type of data we collect and how they can participate.’

However, funnily enough, they have not commented on the fact BBC was able to use the app while posing as a 14-year-old.

An industry leader like Facebook needs to be actively considering/protecting the safety and privacy of young people; especially if they want to gain the trust back from the public which they have lost as a result of recent data protection scandals. Now I’m not saying this app should be banned, but as they specify it is for over 18’s, they need to create a barrier to prevent young children from being able to sign up and use every function on the app.

Liv