Facebook app banned by Apple collected device data on 187,000 users

Zack Whittaker for TechCrunch:

Facebook obtained personal and sensitive device data on about 187,000 users of its now-defunct Research app, which Apple banned earlier this year after the app violated its rules.

The social media giant said in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office — which TechCrunch obtained — that it collected data on 31,000 users in the U.S., including 4,300 teenagers. The rest of the collected data came from users in India.

Earlier this year, a TechCrunch investigation found both Facebook and Google were abusing their Apple-issued enterprise developer certificates, designed to only allow employees to run iPhone and iPad apps used only inside the company… Apple banned the apps by revoking Facebook’s enterprise developer certificate — and later Google’s enterprise certificate… But in response to lawmakers’ questions, Apple said it didn’t know how many devices installed Facebook’s rule-violating app.

In Facebook’s case, the research app — dubbed Project Atlas — was a repackaged version of its Onavo VPN app, which Facebook was forced to remove from Apple’s App Store last year for gathering too much device data… Facebook’s vice president of public policy Kevin Martin defended the company’s use of enterprise certificates, saying it “was a relatively well-known industry practice.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Also, we’re devious bastards who cannot be trusted,” the advertising company masquerading as a social network muttered under its collective breath.



  1. In the current mixed up political/litigation environment, it’s not unreasonable to expect Trump’s gov. to sue Apple for practicing predatory behavior for removng FB apps.

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