No, it’s not okay! Facebook just doesn’t get it. Data privacy is non-negotiable. Apple has suspended Facebook’s developer certificate for internal apps after discovering the tech giant had been using their developer program to gather data from users in exchange for a fee, in direct violation of App Store privacy policies.

Whether you pay for it with the owner’s consent or not, it’s just not right. Period. Apple’s move to suspend Facebook’s developer license for its internal apps is a strong message that it always pays to do right.

It’s only been a few months since the revelations that Facebook sold millions of users’ personal data to Cambridge Analytica, and the fallout from that is still being felt, with reports indicating that more and more millennials are switching to other social media platforms such as Twitter and SnapChat.

The Fallout

Apple blocks Facebook Internal Apps

Facebook is under scrutiny again for data privacy breaches. This time Apple is calling the shots.

A Pew Research Center survey released in September 2018 revealed that over half of Facebook users aged 18 and older (54%) said they adjusted their privacy settings in the 12 months leading to the survey. Also, about four-in-ten (42%) people said they’d taken a break from checking their Facebook accounts for weeks or more, while 26% of respondents said they’d deleted the Facebook app altogether from their phones. This is shocking for a social media giant whose success was the result of young people adopting the platform. Now that the next generation is losing trust in the platform, it’s crucial for Facebook to re-align its strategy. Users need assurance, and advertisers also need to retain access. It’s a tricky balancing act.

This week’s incident is a breath of fresh and reminder that there is hope that the tech industry still has checks and balances that actually work. Apple’s move must be commended. It also serves as a warning to all other developers that they must take all measures necessary to protect the privacy of their clients.

If personal data lands in the wrong hands (not the case in this latest development) it can have serious consequences. A disgruntled employee, a cyber attack, or even outright fraud can lead to sensitive user data being used for illegal activities – as did the medical records of thousands of people in Singapore just this month.

Here are some of the tweets we monitored on the issue:

This is a good overview of why losing enterprise distribution (all of it, for good, I hope) is actually a pretty significant pain in the ass for Facebook internally:

They deserve every bit of that pain. They’re still getting off REALLY easy.

— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) January 30, 2019

I’m only a contractor at Facebook but no on campus Uber is a pain. I was asking my brother in IT why we don’t use test flight last week 🙂 Internal dogfooding with 5 updates a day is a pain!!

— Blaze Sanders (@BlazeDSanders) January 30, 2019

this tech cold war between two companies would be hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that the collectively control billions of users’ personal information

— rat king (@MikeIsaac) January 30, 2019

FYI: it’s total chaos over inside FB internal channels right now

half the people are like “uhhhh why do none of my apps work”

truly amazing

— rat king (@MikeIsaac) January 30, 2019

Let’s hope this latest development will make all tech companies reevaluate their data protection initiatives. We need to protect our users’ data and at the same time, still be able to deliver the tools and access our advertisers need. This balance, we all must strive to achieve.

Mwenge Ngona

Mwenge Ngona

Head of Marketing at Andromo. Without marketing, we would never know anything about anything. Think about that. We'd be missing out on life!