Facebook got caught paying people $20 a month to let them spy on their phones

Another day, another round of uncomfortable questions for Facebook.

The Silicon Valley social-networking giant has been paying teens and adults up to $20 a month to spy on their phones, their data, and the apps they use, according to a new report from TechCrunch — raising fresh concerns over the company’s approach to user privacy.

The tech news website found that Facebook operates a program called “Project Atlas,” in which it recruits willing Apple iOS and Android users to give them root access to their devices, thereby allowing Facebook to view extensive data on participants’ mobile activity.

The app, Facebook Research, appears to be largely similar to Facebook’s controversial virtual-private-network app Onavo and shares much of the same code, according to security expert Will Strafach, who was asked by TechCrunch to investigate the program.

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