Apple Shut Down All of Facebook's Internal Apps When Revoking Enterprise Certificate [Update: Fixed]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Facebook is no longer able to use or distribute important internal iOS apps after Apple disabled the Enterprise Certificate Facebook was abusing to surreptitiously gather data from iOS users right under Apple's nose.

    Since 2016, Facebook has been paying teens and adults $20 per month to install a data gathering "Facebook Research" app that harvested all kinds of sensitive details from participants.

    Facebook abused its enterprise certificate to get customers to install a "Facebook Research app​

    Apple had already banned Facebook's attempts to gather data through the Onavo VPN app, so Facebook used its enterprise certificate - provided to companies to install and manage internal apps for employees - to get participants to sideload the Facebook Research app, bypassing the App Store and Apple's oversight.

    Facebook yesterday said that it was not violating Apple's enterprise rules, but as it turns out, Facebook was wrong. Apple this morning revoked Facebook's enterprise and said the social network had clearly violated the Enterprise Developer Program.
    Facebook's revoked certificate wasn't just used for the Facebook Research app. According to The Verge, Facebook needed that certificate to run all of its internal apps, and with access revoked, none of those apps are working.

    That means Facebook isn't able to distribute internal iOS apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger for testing purposes, and internal employee apps for purposes like food and transportation are nonfunctional.

    All of the apps that used the certificate "simply don't launch on employees' phones anymore," and Facebook is said to be treating the issue as a critical problem internally.

    After the certificate was revoked, Facebook this morning said that it would shut down its Facebook Research app, though the company defended it and claimed that those who participated went through a "clear on-boarding process." The Facebook Research app for Android continues to be available.

    Facebook is not going to be able to properly operate and distribute iOS apps on a wide scale basis without access to its certificate, so it's not clear how this situation will play out. Apple's tools are essential for internal apps, though Facebook will likely still be able to use alternatives like TestFlight if the certificate isn't reinstated.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has been highly critical of Facebook's lack of respect for user privacy in the past, and the two companies have had a dispute over the Onavo app, but this is the first time that Apple has directly punished Facebook and shut down one of its illicit activities.

    Update: Facebook says it is "working closely" with Apple to reinstate access to internal apps. Employees, meanwhile, are said to be angry and unable to do their work without the apps.

    Update 2: In a statement to The New York Times, Facebook says that Apple has restored its Enterprise Certificate. "We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored. We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn't have an impact on our consumer-facing services."

    Article Link: Apple Shut Down All of Facebook's Internal Apps When Revoking Enterprise Certificate [Update: Fixed]
  2. Wilburx3 macrumors member


    Apr 4, 2017
  3. iModFrenzy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2015
    Our actions define our legacy
  4. G5isAlive macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2003
    Yikes. Seems like taking out a hornets nest with an atom bomb.
  5. xanderville macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2010
    The battle between 2 giants is getting interesting
  6. jonblatho macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2014
    Good. Now Apple should pull their apps from the App Store until they have a written assurance from Facebook that their developer program privileges won't be abused again.

    No other company or developer would get off this easily.
  7. motm95 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    I'm sure all those children roped into this by Facebook understood the "clear on-boarding process."

    What a crock.
  8. MrBat macrumors regular


    May 11, 2017
  9. kahkityoong macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just when you thought FB couldn’t stoop any lower...
  10. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    Good on Apple. Facebook is a scumbag company. They deserve to go out of business and Zuckerberg deserves to have all his most intimate data shared with the world.
  11. brunerd macrumors member


    Sep 24, 2009
    Facebook is in the timeout corner
    Sometimes a petulant child needs a scared straight moment
    "Bad Mark, bad!"
  12. AngerDanger, Jan 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Seems a tad harsh. All they did was circumvent Apple's privacy guidelines… and harvest data for uninformed users at a fraction of the price it ought to be worth… to bolster their efforts to make Facebook and even more overpowered weapon of social intrusion.

    Can't help but wonder how poor Mark took the news…

  13. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    **** 'em. Hopefully it causes some issues internally.

    It's such a laughably, brazenly obvious violation of privacy and morals. It's unbelievable just how "hiding in plain sight" their Dr. Evil plans are.
  14. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
  15. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    Explicitly spying on children. Is Zuck ever going to be held to account? Fines do nothing. Given the crystal clear picture of the criminal operation that Facebook is this guy should be in ****ing jail.

    Tim too, for the tax evasion BS that is somehow “legal” (we really need to do something internationally about tax shelters/avoidance), but does it get any creepier and morally wrong than literally spying on children?

    America’s beloved Oligarchs ladies and gentlemen...
  16. calzon65 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Facebook's lack of respect ... give me a break … Apple ain't no saint.
  17. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Wow respect. My willingness to
    piay for an expensive iPhone just went up by a lot.
    Completely revoking the certificate is the nuclear option. I’m sure they get it back soon but it slows down their rollout of new/updated apps a lot.
  18. Rafterman macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2010
    Maybe, but Facebook's antics are getting tiresome.
  19. TheWatchfulOne macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    It's as though they took off and nuked the site from orbit. (It's the only way to be sure.) ;)
  20. Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    Amazing how brazen Facebook is - truly a company run by scumbags making the decisions.

    The thing is - the more they cheat, lie and betray their users trust - the more money they make and this is why they show no indication of slowing down (and also why Google appears to be getting worse over the last couple of years as well under their newer leadership) - doing this equals growth for the business. Its a fundamental problem with their business model.
  21. lanegandy macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2015
    I love how facebook tries to spin this like they are the victim. Break the rules and you get in trouble. How on earth did spying on children ever become okay??
  22. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    There's some grey area between being a saint and spying on children to mine their personal data.

    Apple faltering in some areas doesn't make Facebook's actions any less abhorrent. Likewise it shouldn't put Apple in the same group as Facebook simply on the criteria that "nobody's perfect".
  23. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Awesome. Delete and ban all their **** entirely. We can build anew. It’s not hard.

    FB had their chance. They could have kept their apps to the original purpose. They decided to abuse data, abuse democracy, give untold power to extreme voices, and are still right now today allowing political advertizing that is stoking divisions and not showing the true source of the funding. One person who worked for them said they are intentionally selling data to rogue regimes to oppress and kill citizens.
  24. kagharaht macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2007
    So people with Facebook App to use FB can not launch it or just won't update? I don't use it, I'm just curious.
  25. StyxMaker macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
    Inside my head.
    I did, years ago.

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