Background: Last week wednesday Apple removed a supposedly internal Facebook app after reports popped up saying Facebook is collecting data from iOS users in return for money. Facebook was running ad campaigns through third party advertisers targeting 13-35 years old, who were then redirected to a Facebook site to download & install an app called “Facebook research” in return for 10$. Each month users were given 20$ to keep the app installed. The app gave Facebook full access to user data which again proves that privacy is a myth. As soon the news became viral, Facebook pulled down the app and they were criticized publicly, although there was no apologies from Facebook’s side.
How Did Facebook Distribute The App Bypassing Apple Store?
Apple has a Developer Enterprise Program which provides a certificate to bigger organizations like Facebook, to distribute their app internally among users without releasing or getting reviewed by Apple store. That’s the reason users were redirected to a Facebook site to download the app with the certificate allowing users to install it without any intervention from Apple store. Distributing the app outside unofficially breaks the rules guided by Apple & hence they revoked the certification of Facebook.
Apple's response, as quoted by TechCrunch was,"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."
It’s true that what Facebook did is completely unethical, in today’s date DATA is everything. But blaming Facebook for privacy violation ain’t fair. People who installed the app in-return for money knew what they were getting into. It’s not like the app was installed without users permission, users gave their full consent to gather their data. 20$ may sound small but users were installing the app on all their IOS devices to collect the money. It may pay for their monthly subscription of entertainment. By Friday, Facebook regained their access to the enterprise again & no more information was released from any side. They must have solved the issue behind close doors & that’s the reality.
Soon, everyone will forget this issue, and while everyone will always know and talk about how Facebook is collecting data from them, very few people actually care. This, along with several other infractions on Facebook’s part is gradually making people wary of Facebook and according to reports from eMarketers, Facebook is already loosing users over the time. They lost approx 2.1 million users under age 25 in 2018 which is a bummer. With their certification revoked to distribute their facebook research app, it’s time to see how Facebook will work around something like this in the future, and whether they will finally take privacy seriously or not.
What’s your opinion regarding Apple VS Facebook? Let us know in the comment section down below!