Dumbest Take of the Day on the Apple-Facebook Thing

Casey Newton at The Verge, “Apple’s Power Over Facebook Ought to Worry the Rest of Us”:

But there’s an argument for Facebook’s kind of research, too, and I heard it from some of you. One is that it’s common — and indeed, by the end of the day, Google had to remove a similar app from its enterprise development program.

All sorts of stuff is common but against the rules of the App Store.

Two is that Facebook’s program sought and obtained consent from its participants, and that to say people shouldn’t have been able to offer their consent is oddly patronizing.

By this logic the government shouldn’t regulate payday lenders and banks, because usurious interest rates are OK if people consent to them.

Three is that by paying its volunteers, it essentially made them contractors — offering a fig-leaf defense of the move to include Facebook Research among the company’s enterprise app deployments.

I’m sure they were all sending in 1099s. Give me a break. Everybody knows that Apple’s enterprise certificate program does not in any way permit distribution of this kind of software, which wouldn’t be allowed in the App Store. But that’s exactly how Facebook was using it.

There are pros and cons to Apple’s iron-clad control over native apps on iOS. This incident with Facebook is one of the pros.

Thursday, 31 January 2019