SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook on Tuesday launched an app that may pay customers to share info with the social media big about which apps they’re utilizing.
The company beforehand rolled out two comparable apps that tracked what activities individuals did on their phones. However each have been shut down after drawing criticism for infringing on privacy and violating Apple’s App Retailer tips.
Fb stated the brand new app, referred to as Research, is totally different than the previous two and was built from scratch. And it is just obtainable on the Google Play Store, although Facebook stated it’d work to broaden it to iOS in the future.
The new app will acquire details about which apps individuals are using and for a way long, including which app features are used. That would give Facebook beneficial insight into how individuals use its rivals’ providers.
Facebook stated it won’t monitor passwords or account IDs and it will periodically remind those that the app is accumulating their knowledge.
A previous market-analysis app from the corporate, referred to as Analysis, received in scorching water earlier this yr when a report found that teenagers have been utilizing it and it was sidestepping Apple’s tips. Apple booted it from its app retailer and Fb ultimately shut it down utterly.
The opposite app, referred to as Onavo Shield, was a virtual personal network service used to keep info personal in public settings — nevertheless it was also amassing information about app utilization and sending it to Fb. That app, too, has been shut down.
Facebooks appears to be appearing in a extra upfront method this time, stated Lance Cottrell, chief scientist for the cybersecurity agency Ntrepid.
“They’re being a little less intrusive with this one,” he stated, noting that Facebook says it will not acquire a few of the extra delicate info from individuals’s phones resembling pictures and net searches.
What it can do, Cottrell suspects, is give Facebook further advantage over rivals as a result of will probably be capable of inform how lengthy apps are being used, and even which features inside them are most popular. Facebook already has a step up when establishing such market analysis, Cottrell stated — not many other corporations might launch an analogous service and get as many individuals as Facebook is sure to.
“It is numerous competitive intelligence, however rather less spying on the customers,” he stated.
However some privacy specialists are involved users will still…