Suprise! Another privacy issue at FaceBook. Apple pulls FaceBook Enterprise Developer Certificate due to violation of terms.
FaceBook has been using Apple tools designed for companies to develop and release apps inside the company with users outside the organisation.
By using the Apple program designed for internal use FaceBook has been bypassing the App Store privacy and security rules to gather information from users without getting their full permission.
The app allowed Facebook to track users’ app history, their private messages and even their location data. The “research” effort reportedly targeted users as young as 13 years old.
When Apple revoked the certificate it disabled apps used across FaceBook internally as well including new versions of its products under development.
We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization. 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.
Key facts about this market research program are being ignored. Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate. Finally, less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.
Apple and FaceBook have had a few public disagreements over privacy recently as Apple tries to differentiate itself from others in the industry with privacy issues.
Google has also been affected by the same crack down as it was also distributing apps to the public in violation of Apple’s policy.
UPDATE 31/01/19: Apple has restored access to the Enterprise developer program for FaceBook & Google.