Facebook paid kids as young as 13 to install spyware on their phones to track their every move, and they snuck around behind Apple’s back to do it:
Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms. Facebook admitted to TechCrunch it was running the Research program to gather data on usage habits.
I think a lot of well-meaning and smart legislators are reluctant to regulate social media and tech companies because those companies
donate freely to their campaigns have convinced them that the magic pixie fairy dust of techbro innovation doesn’t work if even a whiff of evil government regulation is involved. That’s obviously not true – these companies products are pretty mature and the market is fairly well understood, so it’s more than ready to be regulated.
If some other established entity, like, say, the Roman Catholic Church, paid 13 year olds $20 a month to let a bunch of priests watch them on hidden cameras, we’d be sharpening up the pitchforks. We need to treat Facebook the same way we’d treat any other big corporation that consistently lies and does real societal harm in order to increase their profits. There’s very little special and innovative about them, as far as I’m concerned.