Apple busts Facebook for distributing data-sucking app

Apple busts Facebook for distributing data-sucking app
FILE - This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York. Apple says it has banned a Facebook-made app that paid users, including teenagers, to extensively track their data. The app, Facebook Research, tracked people’s phone and web activity in exchange for payments. A report in the tech blog TechCrunch on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, says Facebook paid about $20 a month in exchange for people letting it track their phone activities. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining “permission” loosely and obscuring what sort of data it collects. (AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof, File) (Source: Karly Domb Sadof)

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple says Facebook can no longer distribute an app that paid users, including teenagers, to extensively track their phone and web use.

The tech blog TechCrunch reports that Facebook paid about $20 a month. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining “permission” loosely and obscuring what data it collects.

Facebook says fewer than 5 percent of the app's users were teens and they had parental permission. Nonetheless, the revelation is yet another blemish on Facebook's track record on privacy and could invite further regulatory scrutiny.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook sidestepped Apple’s app store and its tighter rules on privacy. Apple says Facebook was using a distribution mechanism meant for company employees, not outsiders, so Apple has revoked that capability.

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