NEW YORK: Apple says Facebook can no longer distribute an app that paid users, including teenagers, to extensively track their phone and web use. In doing so, Apple closed off Facebook’s efforts to sidestep Apple’s app store and its tighter rules on privacy.

The tech blog TechCrunch reported on Tuesday that Facebook paid people about $20 a month to install and use the Facebook Research app. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining “permission” loosely and obscuring what data it collects. For now, the app appears to be available for Android phones, though not through Google’s main app store.

Apple said Facebook was distributing Facebook Research through an internaldistribution mechanism meant for company employees, not outsiders.

TechCrunch reported separately on Wednesday that Google was using the same privileged access to Apple’s mobile operating system for a market-research app, Screenwise Meter. Asked about it , Google said it had disabled the app on Apple devices and apologised for its “mistake.”

Facebook is still permitted to distribute apps through Apple’s app store, though such apps are reviewed by Apple ahead of time.


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