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Apple pulls Facebook research app that spies on user habits

Apple pulls Facebook research app that spies on user habits

Apple has blocked Facebook’s controversial research app that allowed the social networking giant to track user’s habits. Facebook agreed to pull the app from the iOS version after the news spread. However, Apple has blocked the research app before the company got a chance to withdraw it.

Apple banned Facebook from a program they were running that let businesses control their employees iPhones used for official purposes. Apple offered companies certificates which enabled them to monitor app usage and delete data that was related to the business.

Apple revoked the social networking company from their business program saying that the program was made for 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,” said Apple, according to a report.

The ban does not affect Facebook’s apps including Whatsapp and Instagram in the Apple app store.

Facebook defended its stance by saying that they had deployed the research app on users phones with their permission. “Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’. 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 onboarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate,” justified Facebook.

The iPhone maker has voiced concerns about Facebook’s data collection techniques in the past as well. The company pulled the Facebook app called Onavo Protect from its app store in 2018. Onavo Protect allegedly collected user’s private data and was also found to be in violation of Apple’s privacy rules.

Facebook is currently facing a Russian probe over data privacy concerns. It is also under an FTC [Federal Trade Commission] investigation which was spurred by the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. European Union also launched an investigation against Facebook in 2018 to examine the GDPR compliance of the social networking giant.

Image via Shutterstock

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