Apple says Facebook can no longer distribute an app that paid users, including teenagers, to extensively track their phone and web use.
The tech blog TechCrunch reports that Facebook paid about $20 a month. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining "permission" loosely and obscuring what data it collects.
"I don't think they make it very clear to users precisely what level of access they were granting when they gave permission,"mobile app security researcher Will Strafach said Wednesday. "There is simply no way the users understood this."
He said Facebook's claim that users understood the scope of data collection was "muddying the waters."
Facebook says fewer than 5 percent of the app's users were teens and they had parental permission. Nonetheless, the revelation is yet another blemish on Facebook's track record on privacy and could invite further regulatory scrutiny.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook sidestepped Apple's app store and its tighter rules on privacy. Apple says Facebook was using a distribution mechanism meant for company employees, not outsiders, so Apple has revoked that capability.