APPLE HAS BORKED Facebook's internal apps by removing the firm's ability to use its Enterprise Developer Program.
The move, which Facebook is said to be treating as a "critical problem", comes after a TechCrunch exposé revealed that the social network had been abusing Apple's enterprise certs with its "Facebook Research" app, which pays users as young as 13 to offer-up complete access to their phone activity
Using the certificate allowed Facebook to sign iOS applications so they can be installed for internal use only, without having to go through the official App Store.
On Wednesday evening, privacy-conscious Apple (well, kind of) responded by revoking Facebook's ability to distribute internal iOS apps. According to a report at The Verge, early versions of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and other beta apps have stopped working, as have internal apps used by employees.
"We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization," Apple said in a statement.
"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."
Facebook has yet to speak out, but a report at Business Insider claims the firm is working diligently to restore access to an internal version of Facebook's iOS app. Staff are said to be "pissed" and "angry" about the situation, with some rightly holding Facebook responsible, and others pinning the blame on Apple.
"Apple is technically doing their job and has a right," one employee said. "This is probably one of the worse things that can happen to the company internally."
These miffed staffers are being advised to use Apple's App Store to download the apps they have developed onto their own iPhones or iPads until the situation is resolved or a new solution is adopted.
This isn't the first time Facebook has bee caught abusing iOS enterprise certs; Apple previously booted the firm's data-slurping Onavo VPN app from the App Store for violating violated Cupertino's strict privacy rules.
Its tit-for-tat battle with Apple isn't the only headache Facebook is currently suffering, as US lawmaker. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has pledged to reintroduce legislation that would make it illegal for Facebook to carry out such "research" in future.
The does-as-it-says-on-the-tin Do Not Track Kids Act will make it illegal for companies to pay children to hand over their private data.
"It is inherently manipulative to offer teens money in exchange for their personal information when younger users don't have a clear understanding of how much data they're handing over and how sensitive it is," he said in a statement. µ
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