Should Apple’s power over Facebook worry the rest of us?

“At around 2:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Facebook sent me an update about the controversial market research program revealed on Tuesday by TechCrunch. Effective immediately, the company said, the program would end on Apple devices,” Casey Newton writes for The Verge. “What I didn’t know in the wee hours of Wednesday morning was that Facebook had already lost the general argument to its chief regulator in this case: Apple, which last night took steps to invalidate the root certificates enabling both the market research program and every single app that Facebook uses for internal testing purposes, for tens of thousands of employees around the world.”

“Tensions between Apple and Facebook have been high for some time now,” Newton writes. “Facebook has pushed back, lightly: Mark Zuckerberg called Cook’s comments about Facebook’s business model ‘extremely glib’ last year. But Zuckerberg can only ever go so far. Cook can flip a switch that removes the Facebook app from the devices of every iOS user. Facebook may be one of the most powerful companies in the world — but viewed in this way, it begins to look quite weak.”

“By invalidating Facebook’s enterprise certificate today, Cook flipped one of his lesser switches. And the result inside Facebook today was chaos, Rob Price reports. ‘The move dramatically escalated tensions between Facebook and Apple, and has left Facebook employees unable to communicate with colleagues, access internal information, and even use company transportation,'” Newton writes. “And just like that, Facebook’s entire day was wasted.”

Newton writes, “As Apple faces more pressure to serve as, as Roose put it, de facto privacy regulator, we may find ourselves uncomfortable with its monopolistic power.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The problem is that government is slow and always behind the curve. Privacy-trampling Facebook and Google need to be regulated. This much, by now, is blatantly obvious. Until or unless the governments of the world get their acts together and begin to protect their citizens’ privacy rights, we’ll settle for Apple standing in as regulator. At least some modicum of restraint on Facebook and Google is capable of being applied by someone who believes in privacy rights.

Although we’d love for Apple to banish Facebook off the App Store forever for serially abusing users’ private data, it’s not really feasible unless Apple wishes to immediately sell far, far fewer iPhones and iPads. Facebook has 2.32 billion users as of December 31st. Apple doesn’t have as nearly much power over Facebook as Newton seems to think.

Big surprise: Google is also abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate system to collect extensive data on users – January 30, 2019
Apple blocks Facebook from running all of their internal iOS apps by revoking distribution certificate – January 30, 2019
Apple bans Facebook’s ‘research’ app that paid teens to install VPN that spies on them – January 30, 2019
Hidden documents reveal how Facebook made money by bamboozling children – January 18, 2019
Roger McNamee: I mentored Mark Zuckerberg. I loved Facebook. But I can’t stay silent about what’s happening. – January 17, 2019
Apple CEO Cook calls for U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation in TIME op-ed – January 17, 2019
Senator Marco Rubio introduces privacy bill to create federal regulations on data collection – January 16, 2019
Apple endorses comprehensive privacy legislation in U.S. Senate testimony – September 26, 2018
Trump administration working on federal data privacy policy – July 27, 2018


  1. Not in this particular case, because Facebook is clearly in (gross) violation of the terms for usage of Apple’s enterprise certificate(s).

    In general, however, we need to be very worried about the censorship primarily CA based companies except over content and opinions on the internet, not only in the US, but on a global scale.
    These platforms go far beyond what is reasonable in “protecting” their platforms, when in reality they curb all voices that don’t agree with their own particular one. – Which often fly right in the face of their potential customers.

    1. It’s Apples platform; they have every right to control how it’s used. Apple would be blamed if some third party discovered this privacy breach, just as it is blamed for security breaches. Since it is Apples platform, Apple has responsibility for its content.

      1. They don’t have any more responsibility for what users do on iOS than they do on macOS. They only have a responsibility for what is in titles they publish, including the operating system.

        The rest is the responsibility of the end user and the publisher of software titles.

        1. Dumb as a rock, Apple doesn’t have any responsibility to Facebook and should give them nothing but the back of their hand. Long term Facebook, Google, and Uber are heading down the road for a massive a bitch slap.

    2. Your carefully crafted rhetoric does nothing to hide your agenda, Silversurfer. Whenever someone on this forum starts taking Apple to task for “censorship,” we all know which side of the political fence against which you are leaning.

      From my perspective, Apple promotes civil and open discussion as well as respect for personal privacy and personal rights. The fact that you disagree with aspects of Apple’s policies does not equate to censorship.

      1. Apple’s policies is nothing but shoveling an US, CA world view down the throat of their global customer base, and it is distasteful to watch.

        It also serves to erode their customer base. The decline in iPhone sales is not only market saturation and pricing issues.

        Apple has been to court multiple times in European countries over censorship they try excerpt over content in traditional news media’s iOS applications.

        As to what side I am on, you know nothing of the sorts, as you try to paint everyone in the US centric view of politics.

        I am not even close to the US location wise, and gay marriages has been legal for at least 25 years in this part of the world, so whatever message Apple try to convey, it is largely irrelevant. It only serves to illustrate how far behind the US is many areas.

        1. Whatever concerns about censorship you have with Apple, which has serious flaws in this area (like banning pro-life podcasts) Facebook has 100 times the censorship record. Apple dabbles in political censorship now and then, Facebook does it as a core value, and invades privacy as a key part of its business model. In the case in point here, Facebook violated Apple’s rules about privacy and should have been punished much more severely.

          Now there should be a punishment for the very large platforms that have “banned” conservative content. If this is not fixed the government should start to employ anti-trust lawsuits and get this banning stopped.

  2. Silicon Valley is just begging to be regulated by the government. This devil-make-care attitude that we can program, distribute and collect data from whatever we make will come to a crashing halt. I’m just waiting for the big scandal that will make it so. There is no morality for these organizations, they only see dollar signs.

  3. You know why Facebook will always be valued higher than Apple by Wall Street? Because Zuckerberg is willing to do anything for profits. He’d sell his mother’s personal data if it meant increasing profits for his company. Big investors really stick with Facebook because Zuckerberg doesn’t let morality get in his way. Big investors also know that the average Facebook user is the equivalent of a social media crack-head. Facebook users are totally addicted to the daily use of social media apps. Look how much profit Facebook is making from turning free user data into gold. Facebook can easily outperform Apple in terms of share gains.

    Tim Cook is wasting his time trying to preach about protection of privacy and security to social media addicts. It’s not as though they’re asking to be saved or protected. Facebook and Google social media users are happy to give their personal data away for the use of those “free” services. Data breaches mean nothing to Facebook subscribers or big investors. They keep coming back for more because that’s where the money is. Meanwhile, Apple is struggling to sell expensive iPhones that are getting harder to sell every quarter. Maybe Apple should start data harvesting. It pays a whole lot better than selling hardware.

    Apple’s cry for security and privacy is never praised by Wall Street because it doesn’t make Apple more profitable. If anything, Apple is losing money while Facebook and Google harvest all the user data, get all the advertisers, and come out looking like internet heroes.

  4. The fact that the government is not even doing what it should against such IRS tax-exempt cults like $cientology who flagrantly violates the rules of what a “church” is allowed spending millions on Fair Gaming and destroying innocent people (with the evil justifying mantra “for the greater good of the cult”) doesn’t surprise me they are slow to respond to large companies and financial forces abuse.

    Government needs to get a back bone and some major cojones and DO THEIR JOB! A little revoking is good for the soul, and society.

  5. Apple decided that people that are proud of their Southern heritage are less than full citizens and banned them from their apps and store.

    You may no care about that, but it is fair warning that some day they may ban your heritage, religion or culture. And that should concern you.

      1. If you weren’t so ignorant of Southern heritage you’d know that many Blacks served in the Confederacy and they too honor their ancestors for their service and bravery on the battlefields.

        You’re willfully ignorant of the Corwin Amendment, passed by the northern-dominated Congress, that would have expressly permitted slavery by the U. S. Constitution (and would have been the 13th Amendment).

        You’re willfully ignorant of the Morrill tariffs of 1861, and the bitter tariff fights of the 1830s, 40s and 50s, that lead to the South paying for the North’s infrastructure.

        You obviously fully embrace the history taught by the victors. Congratulations, I hope your ignorance provides you bliss.

        1. Southern Heritage… from their own pens, on their reaosons for fighting:

          The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.
          … We refuse to submit to that judgment,

          In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
          Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.

          ….She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.

          and so on.

          It is notable that in their own declarations, each of the Confederate states refer to themselves as “the slaveholding states”. Yes, they also use the words “Confederate” and “southern”, but “slaveholding” is at least as prominent, if not primary.

          Just one more fine part of “Southern Heritage” — at that time: 9million population, of which FOUR MILLION were slaves.

        2. Gary, I grew up in a Southern state and still live there, so I am neither willfully nor negligently ignorant of our history. That’s why I know that the only “state’s right” that mattered in the run up to The War Between the States was the right to maintain an economic system that was inescapably founded on human bondage.

      2. I would never deprive an a-hole’s right to express themselves, especially on their own property.

        So instead of expecting Apple to help, how about Apple not getting in the way, huh? Who owns your phone anyway?

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