Facebook Research App Was Banned By Apple
Apple, earlier this year, revoked Facebook’s enterprise certificate for distributing its market research app called the Facebook Research app to gather data about the users’ smartphone usage via Apple Testflight program. And now, months after the scandal first broke out we have the numbers that tell us just exactly how many users were affected by the social media giant’s market research plan.
According to a letter by Facebook to Senator Richard Blumenthal’s office that was obtained by TechCrunch, the social media giant collected data on about 187,000 users worldwide from its now defunct Facebook Research app. Of this 31,000 users hailed from the US, which includes 4,300 teenagers. The rest of the data which includes the personal information of 1.56 lakh users came from India.
Earlier this year, Apple blocked Facebook Research app from its platform and revoked the social media’s giant’s enterprise certificate after a report by the publication suggested that the company was using its VPN based app to get rooted access to users’ phone in exchange for up to $20 a month. Furthermore, Facebook used three beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to distribute its app and mask its involvement. The project was internally known as ‘Project Atlast’.
Apple on getting whiff of the matter not only revoked Facebook’s enterprise certificate but it also shut down Google’s internal apps on iOS for violating its developer policy.
Now, in response to queries by the lawmakers, Facebook not only revealed the total number of users who were a part of Facebook’s market research app, but it also revealed when its project Atlas was launched. “The Facebook Research App was launched in 2016. Over the lifetime of the program, we estimate that we received research data from approximately 187,000 participants…In the United States, we estimate that we received research data from nearly 31,000 users, of these, only 4,300 identified as between the ages of 13 and 17,” Facebook said in response to the queries by the lawmakers, as obtained by TechCrunch.
Apple, however, said that it wasn’t aware of the total number of people who had downloaded Facebook’s controversial app. “We know that the provisioning profile for the Facebook Research app was created on April 19, 2017, but this does not necessarily correlate to the date that Facebook distributed the provisioning profile to end user,” Apple wrote.
Meanwhile, Facebook earlier this week launched a new market research app called the Study app on the Google Play Store. It aims to get access to user data in exchange for compensation in a bid to help the company build better products. However, Facebook said that the app is strictly meant for users 18 years or above of age.