A Google website acts as a portal for program participants; a cute video explains how the program works; a Google support page even shows you how to install Google'e enterprise certificate onto an iOS device.
Less than a day after Facebook got busted paying users, including teens, $20 (£15.25) a month in gift cards to use its Research App that collected troves of users' personal data, a new TechCrunch report revealed that Google is guilty of a similar practice.
The dust-up over the app's use by teens is the latest salvo in a tug-of-war between Apple and Facebook over user privacy. Google and Facebook had faced criticism from privacy experts for distributing their research apps through a programme iPhone maker Apple had created for companies to distribute apps to employees.
"Originally, Screenwise was open to users as young as 13, just like Facebook's Research app that's now been shut down on iOS but remains on Android", TechCrunch reported.
"We are now not accepting any new referrals for our research program", the page said, without mentioning Facebook.
Facebook chose to avoid Apple's service entirely to carry out its nefarious scheme.
This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of going to extreme lengths to get user data.
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In a statement to Fast Company, Apple said that Facebook was in "clear breach of their agreement". Facebook told TechCrunch yesterday that it would voluntarily shut the app down today, saying that it has been operating within Apple's policy.
As mentioned before, Facebook employees' day-to-day work has been made more hard by the certificate revocation. 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 exclusively for the internal distribution of apps within an organization", said a spokesman.
But it also raises serious questions about how Facebook continues to approach and value sensitive user data, as the company attempts to recover from successive privacy scandals throughout 2018 and other, broader crises.
The Facebook Research app, a VPN app also known as Project Atlas, was similar to Facebook's Onavo VPN app that it was forced to pull from Apple's App Store last August because it didn't comply with Apple's data-collection policies. Facebook used the data to gain information on potential competitors. Still, Apple remains a major distributor of the Facebook app via the App Store, where the company's Instagram and Messenger are now ranked as the 5th and 9th most popular free apps.
Following the removal of Facebook's internal apps, Apple said in a statement, "Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked".
Still, Apple had to be seen doing something about such an egregious effort to skirt their rules and, obviously, their threat of revoking the enterprise certificates of any developer using them to distribute apps to consumers was enough for Google to go into appeasement mode.