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Facebook to pull controversial data mining app from Apple's App Store

The app - Facebook Research - will apparently continue to exist on Android.

  • Published: January 31, 2019 10:47 AM IST
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To say that Facebook had a disastrous 2018 would probably be an understatement. It all began with the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal coming to light, which led to the social media company facing a lot of criticism (from both users and governments) and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the United States Congress. This was followed by multiple reports of the company s unethical and illegal data collection practices, with even COO Sheryl Sandberg coming under fire. And even though 2019 has just begun, it doesn t look like things are going to get better for Facebook anytime soon.

Recently, a report said that Facebook gained near-total access to the data on smartphones of volunteers (aged between 13 to 35 years) in exchange for $20 gift cards. Soon after, Apple blocked Facebook from distributing internal apps (e.g. pre-release versions of company s apps). Now, Facebook has agreed to shut down the app, acknowledging that it violates Apple s developer guidelines. According to a report by The Verge, the app Facebook Research will no longer be available on iOS. However, it ll apparently continue to exist on Android.

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As noted by The Verge, Facebook Research requires users to install a custom root certificate on their smartphones, thereby allowing Facebook to view users private messages, emails, web searches, and even browsing history. It s reportedly in violation of the developer guidelines put in place by Apple, which prohibit developers from installing any digital certificates on users devices. Interestingly, it s not the first time an app from Facebook has been removed from Apple s App Store. In August last year, the social media platform removed Onavo Protect, an encrypted VPN app, from the App Store because it violated Apple s policies against data collection.

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  • Published Date: January 31, 2019 10:47 AM IST