This week Techcrunch released a report that stated that Facebook was paying individuals as young as 13 up to $20 a month on its “Facebook Research” VPN to track the individuals entire phone and web activity.
While technically, Techcrunch referred to it as a “secret” app, the app was advertised publicly.
Yesterday, in response to that report, Apple blocked Facebook’s Research VPN app before Facebook could shut it down itself.
This was due in part to the fact that Facebook disobeyed Apple by avoiding Apple’s official app beta testing system, “TestFlight”.
Facebook accomplished this by avoiding the app store by giving users a separate link to download the app and giving Facebook network access to the individual. A policy regarding data collection purposes was also violated by this app.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been outspoken about data rights of individuals and so had the former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Apple has no qualms about flipping off the switch for large platforms if they aren’t in tune with their policies. Last year, Apple took Tumblr off its App store due to inappropriate content stemming from the platform. Google was targeted yesterday as well for a similar app to Facebook’s research VPN called “Screenwise Meter”. Arguably, Apple has become a de facto regulator among the tech giants.