Apple Sends Facebook To The Principal’s Office

February 8, 2019

Facebook was wearing a dunce cap. According to Recode, Apple is not happy with the social media giant: “Apple Says It’s Banning Facebook’s Research App That Collects Users’ Personal Information.” Apple is accusing Facebook of breaching an agreement with a new “research” app. Basically, Facebook paid users for sharing their personal information with the app, such as private messages, location data, etc. The big stickler is that users as young as thirteen were targeted.

It is against Apple’s privacy policy to collect any kind of data and apps of this nature are no available in the Apple App Store. Facebook found a loop through Apple’s “Developer Enterprise Program,” where Apple partners can release apps for testing, mostly for their own employees. The apps are not available to the general public and Facebook used this method to pay users to download the app and get paid.

Facebook’s options are similar to country-to-country negotiations: Do what’s necessary to reduce tensions. The Facebook can figure out how to work around the “problem.” I learned:

“The story also shows how important it is for Facebook to collect data on other apps people use on their phones. It’s a big competitive advantage, and collecting this kind of data isn’t foreign to Facebook. The company actually collected similar user data through a separate app Facebook owns called Onavo Protect, which was just removed from the App Store in August for violating Apple’s guidelines. (It’s still available for Android users.)”

User data tell social media sites like Facebook about their habits and then that information can be sold to advertisers. The question is how long will Apple abide by its privacy guidelines, or is Apple flexing its muscles for another reason?

Whitney Grace, February 8, 2019

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