In a bid to send a strong message, Apple recently blocked Facebook and Google from running internal iOS apps, Forbes reported. The restrictions come after Facebook was caught tracking teenagers’ iPhone usage data – like what websites they visit or what they shop from the online shopping websites, through the Facebook Research app. The search giant Google was found guilty of misusing iOS certificates by inviting users to download an app called Screenwise Meter, which is not listed on the Apple app store, reported Forbes.
Both the companies apparently took advantage of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program which helps selected Apple partners to test and distribute apps – but only for their employees, to test new features before the final version is released.
However, Facebook allegedly paid people, who were not its employees, to test out its research app. Apple revoked its certificate after getting to know about it. “Enterprise Developer Program is strictly for distribution of apps within the organisation. Trying to distribute those among consumers, will lead up to certificates being revoked,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.
In its defence, the social media giant issued a statement “people participating in the Research app were asked for their permission, less than 5% of whom were teens – in whose cases, they were allowed to participate with parental consent forms.”
The problem is not just on Apple, Facebook and Google seem to track the users relentlessly. After one leaves an e-commerce platform without buying anything, the ad shows up on Facebook. Or, Google playing videos on YouTube based on previous searches and viewing history.
Enterprise certificates for both Google and Facebook have now been restored. But Apple has made its stand clear on how it values users’ privacy.
Last week, Apple itself was under the radar after reports emerged that a FaceTime bug could listen to a caller, even before the call was accepted. Following this, Apple pulled down the feature, to debug and launched it via a software update.
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