Monday September 23, 2019
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After Facebook, Google Disables App That Collects Users’ Data: Report

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Google has now disabled the app called "Screenwise Meter" that let the company track data and traffic usage on smartphones of users who agreed to that.

After Apple revoked Facebook’s iOS developer certificate for using an app that closely tracked some users data, there was another app from Google that also monitored users’ data on their smartphones.

According to a TechCrunch report late Wednesday, Google has now disabled the app called “Screenwise Meter” that let the company track data and traffic usage on smartphones of users who agreed to that.

In its app, Google invited users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate.

“That’s the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook’s similar Research VPN iOS app” called “Facebook Research” where the social media giant was found to be secretly paying teenagers $20 each, asking them to install the app that let the company access personal data to know how they use their smartphones.

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Facebook also decided to pull the plug on the app from all Apple devices. The app, however, remains available for Android users.(VOA)

“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise programme – this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices,” a Google spokesperson told Fortune.

Facebook also decided to pull the plug on the app from all Apple devices. The app, however, remains available for Android users.

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The app allows Facebook to collect data including private social media messages, photos and videos sent via instant messaging apps, emails, web searches and web browsing activities.

Facebook previously collected similar data using “Onavo” Protect, a virtual private network (VPN) service that it acquired in 2013.

The company also denied that “Facebook Research” was intended to replace “Onavo”. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Networking Giant Facebook Suspends Several Apps Post-Cambridge Analytica Probe

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has suspended thousands of apps associated with nearly 400 developers for a variety of reasons, as it continues to investigate suspicious apps after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The social networking giant said that it is not yet confirmed these apps were posing a threat to people.

“Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them. It is not unusual for developers to have multiple test apps that never get rolled out.

“In many cases, the developers did not respond to our request for information so we suspended them, honouring our commitment to take action,” Facebook said in a blog post on Friday.

Facebook began its “App Developer Investigation” in March 2018 as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The company aimed to review all of the apps that had access to large amounts of information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.

“Our App Developer Investigation is by no means finished. But there is meaningful progress to report so far. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps,” Facebook said.

Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

In a few cases, Facebook has banned some apps completely.

“That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies,” the company said.

In May, Facebook filed a lawsuit in California against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that failed to cooperate with its investigation.

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“We’ve also taken legal action against developers in other contexts. For example, we filed an action against LionMobi and JediMobi, two companies that used their apps to infect users’ phones with malware in a profit-generating scheme,” it added.

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data.

“We have clarified that we can suspend or revoke a developer’s access to any API that it has not used in the past 90 days. And we will not allow apps on Facebook that request a disproportionate amount of information from users relative to the value they provide,” the company said. (IANS)