Apple has reportedly blocked the Facebook application that pays its user to track their internet usage. When asked about this to Apple, it’s said that Facebook has broken Apple’s privacy guidelines by collecting it’s users private information such as location, internet history, and messages.
According to an investigation done by website Techcrunch, it is found that Facebook was able to go through the official App store which had strict rules for an application that funnel internet traffic. Facebook has done this by using the so-called Developer Enterprise Program. This program allows companies to distribute apps among developers for testing purposes.
Despite the fact the programme is officially designed for only using on employees, Facebook has recruited non-employees and paid them money of up to $20 a month to use the application in exchange for giving the company access to the user’s internet history and various other private information. Among those that took part in this research by the social media giant were teens some of whom were as young as 13.
Apple said in a statement to tech site Recode that it has started the Developer Enterprise Program “solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization.” Adding to the statement “Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”
Apart from blocking the Facebook app, a key certificate was also blocked which has caused several of Facebook’s internal testing apps not to work anymore.
On the other hand, Facebook has defended its programme, saying it was not doing anything wrong and that only a very small percentage of people were underage.”Key facts about this market research program are being ignored. Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this; it was called the Facebook Research App,” Facebook said. It also added that “It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear onboarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate. Finally, less than five percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.”
Many of the activists and privacy organizations condemned Facebook for its practices, saying that the company cares more about profits than the privacy of teenagers.
Due to the desperate search for data by Facebook, it has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN, which allows the company to gather all the user’s web and phone activities. This is not the first time Facebook and Apple have been at the conflict over privacy-related issues. It is not the first time Apple and Facebook have been at odds over privacy-related matters. Previous year on of Facebook’s Virtual network app Onavo was banned from Apple’s app store for collecting user information. This information was related to specifics on phone and app use.
Based on another Techcrunch investigation, it is found that Google also reportedly misused Apple’s programme to spy on its users though it is not sure yet if Apple will also revoke the Google app and its related certificate from taking part in the Developer Enterprise Program.