Why Apple banned controversial Facebook app

Why Apple banned controversial Facebook app

Why Apple banned controversial Facebook app

According to The Washington Post, Apple allows companies to build apps for their own employees that don't have to meet the same stringent privacy and data standards as those for the general public. TechCrunch says that users were asked to install the app and provide "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".

Responding to TechCrunch's report, a Facebook spokesperson said that "key facts" about the program, dubbed "Project Atlas", were being ignored. Facebook objected to parts of the report and said participants agreed to the terms. Finally, less than 5% of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. It means that now both Facebook or Google have to stop development of their apps for iOS, at least until they've mended their relationship with Apple. The company is now unable to distribute internal, early versions of its apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram to developers and employees internally. "And if it truly wanted to punish Google like it did Facebook, it could invalidate the certifications for all of Google's legitimate apps that run using the same certificate".

In a statement to tech site Recode, Apple said it started the Developer Enterprise Program "solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization". According to Recode, Apple revoked Facebook's certificates "to protect our users and their data".

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that it has no plans to end Facebook Research as a result of the report.

The project may have allowed Facebook to scoop up more data about younger users as it fends off a challenge from rival services like Snapchat, which has become more popular than Facebook among USA teens.

On Wednesday, Google said it was shutting down the app on iOS devices.

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Apple blocked all of Facebook's internal iOS apps after it was found that the social network was distributing a VPN app that collected an overt amount of customer data.

The news comes as Facebook continues to deal with the fallout from other privacy scandals and concerns about how it handles user data. Those tools are supposed to be used only in certain, specific cases, such when companies want to install internal apps on iPhones - including, for example, monitoring apps or those that give extra security - that they provide to their employees.

In a statement to Fast Company, Apple said that Facebook was in "clear breach of their agreement".

Facebook recruited users aged 13-35 years old via beta testing services like Applause, BetaBound and uTest, with the latter company running ads for a "paid social media research study" on Instagram and Snapchat.

This move is likely to also affect Facebook's ability to test its apps internally before publishing them on Apple's App Store. On iOS, installing apps not approved by the App Store requires developers to have special permissions. Facebook accessed the data after users installed the "Facebook Research" VPN app.

TechCrunch suggested that the app violated Apple's Enterprise Certificate policy, which places tight restrictions on accessing sensitive user data.

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