In January, when news first broke that Facebook had been paying teens in gift cards to let it install what is, by definition, essentially spyware on their phones, it seemed like just another Tuesday. Had it been virtually any other company, the outrage would have been tenfold. After all, paying 13-year-olds to gain access to their mobile app usage and browser traffic is, on its face, an unconscionably creepy way for a business to gather intelligence about its competitors. But this shameless undertaking is now precisely the kind of dissolute conduct we’ve come to expect from the occupants 1 Hacker Way.
Facebook’s moral turpitude aside, it’s now come to light that the company also initially underreported the percentage of teens that it had paid to become lab rats, while falsely stating that parental consent forms were required.
Citing responses from the company to questions posed by Sen. Mark Warner, TechCrunch reports that Facebook now claims “about 18 percent” of the people it convinced to download the “Facebook Research App” were teens. This, as opposed to the “5 percent” figure the company provided reporters over a month ago.