Apple clamps down on Facebook for tracking teen browsing habits

Apple clamps down on Facebook for tracking teen browsing habits
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Apple said Wednesday that it has banned Facebook from using tools that let businesses control iPhones used by employees, following a news report that the social media giant has been monitoring the browsing habits of teenagers.

Reuters reported that Apple took the punitive step a day after TechCrunch published an article saying Facebook has been paying teenagers as young as 13 to install an app called Facebook Research that is used it to monitor their internet browsing habits.

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Apple booted Facebook from the business app program on Wednesday, saying in a statement to Reuters that the program is “solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization.”

“Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple,” Apple said in the statement.

“Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this,” Facebook said in a statement to Reuters. “It was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate.”

Facebook added that teenage participants had permission from their parents.

Facebook and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

The move by Apple comes as both companies grapple with privacy issues. Apple is working to fix a FaceTime bug that allows users to hear conversations outside of phone calls, while Facebook is still working to repair its image following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which a private consulting firm was able to obtain data on millions of Facebook users.

Updated at 3:01 p.m.