Apple threatened to pull Facebook from the App Store over human trafficking

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple reportedly threatened to pull the Facebook app from the App Store in 2019 after reports surfaced that the social media platform was being used by human traffickers.

Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash
Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash


Back in 2019, the BBC reported that human traffickers in the Middle East were using Facebook to arrange the sales of its victims. After that story was published, Apple threatened to boot Facebook from the App Store unless it cracked down on the practice, according to internal Facebook documents obtained by theThe Wall Street Journal.

Those internal documents reveal that Facebook was aware of the trafficking issue before the BBC report. They suggest that Facebook only took limited action to shut down the activity before Apple launched its threats.

One Facebook researcher asked whether "the issue was known to Facebook before BBC inquiry and Apple escalation?" The response started with a simple "yes."

"Throughout 2018 and H1 2019 we conducted the global Understanding Exercise in order to fully understand how domestic servitude manifests on our platform across its entire life cycle: recruitment, facilitation, and exploitation," the response continued.

According to the full Wall Street Journal report, the traffickers apparently masqueraded as employment agencies that were actually a front for the trading and selling of enslaved people. The traffickers reportedly used Facebook to falsely advertise those fake employment agencies.

Apple releases a report and statement each year detailing its efforts to combat human trafficking and slavery in its supply chain and in other areas of its business. According to the document, apps on the App Store must not "solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior."

In extreme cases, such as if apps are found to facilitate human trafficking or the exploitation of children, Apple will notify the relevant authorities.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,506member
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    edited September 17 wonkothesanemac daddy zeeDogpersonhucom2000dewme
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Clearly human trafficking and Facebook are evil things and should be banned worldwide permanently.

    But this raises some interesting questions. For example, what is the complete list of services that are banned from the App Store worldwide? I'm looking at the App Store guidelines and there is a complete prohibition on Human Trafficking (section 5) tobacco (section 1.4.3), and a few other things.

    https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/ <--

    But surely it's a tricky area for Apple to be in charge of a list for banning apps worldwide when different countries have different laws. For example, China has a long list of apps that Apple cannot sell on its app store in China (eg, Twitter, FaceBook, Youtube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tinder, Google, etc.) So you could say that China's app restrictions are adding to Apple's app restrictions. But on the other hand you could say that each country permits, rather than bans, apps. There's no practical difference between having a "permitted list" and a "prohibited list," since the end result can be the same. One list might be shorter than the other, but the result is the same.

    I'd like to see a complete list of which apps are allowed (or banned) in each country. Is there a website that tracks these things? I couldn't find one. I found several countries with lists of banned apps, but nothing that tracks the situation world-wide.

    During my research I was surprised to learn that TikTok is banned in China even though it's actually developed there. That doesn't instil in me a lot of confidence in that product. There is a different product from the same company for use in China, but it has different client code, different server code, and different censorship rules. I presume/guess that the version for China has more privacy violations than the one for outside China. But there probably are no privacy laws in China, so that's legal there.

    This is a tricky area for Apple to deal with. It probably keeps Apple's lawyers busy.
    fotoformatcornchipbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 20
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,722member
    Clearly human trafficking and Facebook are evil things and should be banned worldwide permanently.

    But this raises some interesting questions. For example, what is the complete list of services that are banned from the App Store worldwide? I'm looking at the App Store guidelines and there is a complete prohibition on Human Trafficking (section 5) tobacco (section 1.4.3), and a few other things.

    https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/ <--

    But surely it's a tricky area for Apple to be in charge of a list for banning apps worldwide when different countries have different laws. For example, China has a long list of apps that Apple cannot sell on its app store in China (eg, Twitter, FaceBook, Youtube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tinder, Google, etc.) So you could say that China's app restrictions are adding to Apple's app restrictions. But on the other hand you could say that each country permits, rather than bans, apps. There's no practical difference between having a "permitted list" and a "prohibited list," since the end result can be the same. One list might be shorter than the other, but the result is the same.

    I'd like to see a complete list of which apps are allowed (or banned) in each country. Is there a website that tracks these things? I couldn't find one. I found several countries with lists of banned apps, but nothing that tracks the situation world-wide.

    During my research I was surprised to learn that TikTok is banned in China even though it's actually developed there. That doesn't instil in me a lot of confidence in that product. There is a different product from the same company for use in China, but it has different client code, different server code, and different censorship rules. I presume/guess that the version for China has more privacy violations than the one for outside China. But there probably are no privacy laws in China, so that's legal there.

    This is a tricky area for Apple to deal with. It probably keeps Apple's lawyers busy.
    It's tough to have either list and to keep it up to date. The easiest is the banned list, just keep editing it. Everything else is permitted until it is banned. This is a lot easier to maintain than having a fixed permitted list when new things come up. Let the new thing present themselves and if they are ok, keep them, but if they aren't, then ban them. 
    Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,437member
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    And we didn’t already know this?

    Honestly, with each passing day I become more convinced that removing facebook (and other social media apps) could only be a net benefit to society.
    williamlondonfotoformatmuthuk_vanalingamhucom2000dewmecornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    MplsP said:
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    And we didn’t already know this?

    Honestly, with each passing day I become more convinced that removing facebook (and other social media apps) could only be a net benefit to society.
    I'm already there.
    mobirdwilliamlondonFred257thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    They have been abysmal for years, agents are politically biased. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Bad things happen when a communications company is headed by a sociopath.
    williamlondonFred257mac daddy zeeDogpersonththucom2000watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    MplsP said:
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    And we didn’t already know this?

    Honestly, with each passing day I become more convinced that removing facebook (and other social media apps) could only be a net benefit to society.
    I’m dumping FB.  Bye bye…This story is the deciding nail in the coffin 
    wonkothesanewilliamlondonDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    seanjseanj Posts: 265member
    It’s a shame Apple didn’t threaten Facebook over the amount of ridiculous anti-vaccine propaganda that appears on it. A lot of people have died unnecessarily because they’ve been fooled by this unscientific disinformation and refused vaccination when offered.
    Dogpersonwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    ahhh Fecesbook shows it’s true self yet again
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,302member

    I'd like to see a complete list of which apps are allowed (or banned) in each country. Is there a website that tracks these things? I couldn't find one. I found several countries with lists of banned apps, but nothing that tracks the situation world-wide.

    During my research I was surprised to learn that TikTok is banned in China even though it's actually developed there. That doesn't instil in me a lot of confidence in that product. There is a different product from the same company for use in China, but it has different client code, different server code, and different censorship rules. I presume/guess that the version for China has more privacy violations than the one for outside China. But there probably are no privacy laws in China, so that's legal there.

    This is a tricky area for Apple to deal with. It probably keeps Apple's lawyers busy.
    Research a little deeper too, where you'll find China has a renewed interest in user privacy.
    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-passes-new-personal-data-privacy-law-take-effect-nov-1-2021-08-20/
  • Reply 12 of 20
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,010member
    At least this time, we were spared the “FB will do better” contrition speech by Mark Zuckerberg.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    It's clear that FB is an evil company, run by a sociopath, that will do and allow anything for money. That's a given.
    It's also clear that human trafficking is a huge problem that has to be tackled whenever and wherever it appears. 

    This does bring up an interesting question though. When is it a companies duty to step in and regulate how their product is used? When do they have the RIGHT to dicatarte this? Even more how is it their right to dictate how OTHER companies apps are used?
    Various gangs and mafiosi like Ford Expeditions for their criminal activities. They have plenty of room, you can get them with dark windows standard, and they are very tough. It's the same reason clandestine "security" organizations use them. Should Apple ban Ford's advertising and any apps they have because of this? Should Apple ban other apps that DO allow Ford advertisements? 
    It's one thing when a country such as China says Apple cannot offer Twitter in the AppStore. It's another when Apple rejects an App because it doesn't fit with their image. It's my phone. If I want, for example, a porn app on it how is it Apples place to say no? If I want to use an app in a way that Apple doesn't agree with, how do they have the right to say that's not allowed? It's my phone. It's my time. It's my business. 

    Who made them arbiter of how I can use the device I paid for?

    I wonder if this is part of the reason there is growing pressure to allow side loading of Apps on Apple devices? 
    edited September 18
  • Reply 14 of 20
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,052member
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    Not just shielding.  Enabling!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Let’s see the traffickers do it because of the money
    and Facebook does it because of the money, doesn’t that make them conspirators?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    DAalseth said:
    Who made them arbiter of how I can use the device I paid for?
    Apple makes the hardware & the software.  To use the product you purchased, you agree to the license agreement for the software.  

    You agreed to Apple being the arbiter of how you can use the device you paid for (because of the software license - not purchase.)
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,946member
    MplsP said:
    elijahg said:
    FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 
    And we didn’t already know this?

    Honestly, with each passing day I become more convinced that removing facebook (and other social media apps) could only be a net benefit to society.
    The social media genie is already out of the bottle. There is no going back.

    Unfortunately, we all know that these apps aren’t the source of the problem. They merely provide another mechanism to expose the evil that lurks in the hearts of some humans. Whether it’s a social media app or a demagogue with a message for a compliant mob of followers, all it takes is a mechanism to tease out the evil that already exists but is laying dormant below a facade of decency and morality. If Facebook were blocked, something else would soon replace it in short order. Facebook is not the problem. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    DAalseth said:
    It's clear that FB is an evil company, run by a sociopath, that will do and allow anything for money. That's a given.
    It's also clear that human trafficking is a huge problem that has to be tackled whenever and wherever it appears. 

    This does bring up an interesting question though. When is it a companies duty to step in and regulate how their product is used? When do they have the RIGHT to dicatarte this? Even more how is it their right to dictate how OTHER companies apps are used?
    Various gangs and mafiosi like Ford Expeditions for their criminal activities. They have plenty of room, you can get them with dark windows standard, and they are very tough. It's the same reason clandestine "security" organizations use them. Should Apple ban Ford's advertising and any apps they have because of this? Should Apple ban other apps that DO allow Ford advertisements? 
    It's one thing when a country such as China says Apple cannot offer Twitter in the AppStore. It's another when Apple rejects an App because it doesn't fit with their image. It's my phone. If I want, for example, a porn app on it how is it Apples place to say no? If I want to use an app in a way that Apple doesn't agree with, how do they have the right to say that's not allowed? It's my phone. It's my time. It's my business. 

    Who made them arbiter of how I can use the device I paid for?

    I wonder if this is part of the reason there is growing pressure to allow side loading of Apps on Apple devices? 
    Because you are not seeing that the App Store belongs to Apple so they make the rules of how/what they want to sale. 

    You may own the iPhone hardware but you don’t own the OS heck you don't even own the apps. You may think you do but then the developer changes to a subscription model and you are f or build an entire new app that you have to pay again and stopped supporting the one you think you owned. 

    Same as Target not wanting Salvation Army outside the stores. 

    Same as Walmart for allowing Salvation Army.

    Same as a restaurant when they decide to offer a certain Menu. 

    You know what you are getting yourself into when buying the iPhone. I bet you (not you everyone really) tap Agree, Next, Next, Next at setup without reading. 

    On your example of Ford the crimes are not being committed on an iPhone app. Human trafficking was directly happening through the Facebook app  violating the App Store rules.   So they get to regulate and intervene directly.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Apple_Bar said:
    DAalseth said:
    It's clear that FB is an evil company, run by a sociopath, that will do and allow anything for money. That's a given.
    It's also clear that human trafficking is a huge problem that has to be tackled whenever and wherever it appears. 

    This does bring up an interesting question though. When is it a companies duty to step in and regulate how their product is used? When do they have the RIGHT to dicatarte this? Even more how is it their right to dictate how OTHER companies apps are used?
    Various gangs and mafiosi like Ford Expeditions for their criminal activities. They have plenty of room, you can get them with dark windows standard, and they are very tough. It's the same reason clandestine "security" organizations use them. Should Apple ban Ford's advertising and any apps they have because of this? Should Apple ban other apps that DO allow Ford advertisements? 
    It's one thing when a country such as China says Apple cannot offer Twitter in the AppStore. It's another when Apple rejects an App because it doesn't fit with their image. It's my phone. If I want, for example, a porn app on it how is it Apples place to say no? If I want to use an app in a way that Apple doesn't agree with, how do they have the right to say that's not allowed? It's my phone. It's my time. It's my business. 

    Who made them arbiter of how I can use the device I paid for?

    I wonder if this is part of the reason there is growing pressure to allow side loading of Apps on Apple devices? 
    Because you are not seeing that the App Store belongs to Apple so they make the rules of how/what they want to sale. 

    You may own the iPhone hardware but you don’t own the OS heck you don't even own the apps. You may think you do but then the developer changes to a subscription model and you are f or build an entire new app that you have to pay again and stopped supporting the one you think you owned. 

    Same as Target not wanting Salvation Army outside the stores. 

    Same as Walmart for allowing Salvation Army.

    Same as a restaurant when they decide to offer a certain Menu. 

    You know what you are getting yourself into when buying the iPhone. I bet you (not you everyone really) tap Agree, Next, Next, Next at setup without reading. 

    On your example of Ford the crimes are not being committed on an iPhone app. Human trafficking was directly happening through the Facebook app  violating the App Store rules.   So they get to regulate and intervene directly.
    All correct, and that leads to my last point. Maybe people are getting sick of Apple’s heavy hand about what is and is not acceptable on our devices. Maybe Apple has only itself to blame for the pressure to allow other stores.  Maybe the harder they try to hang onto control, the more people will rebel and it will slip through their fingers. 
    edited September 19 williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 20
    DAalseth said:
    Apple_Bar said:
    DAalseth said:
    It's clear that FB is an evil company, run by a sociopath, that will do and allow anything for money. That's a given.
    It's also clear that human trafficking is a huge problem that has to be tackled whenever and wherever it appears. 

    This does bring up an interesting question though. When is it a companies duty to step in and regulate how their product is used? When do they have the RIGHT to dicatarte this? Even more how is it their right to dictate how OTHER companies apps are used?
    Various gangs and mafiosi like Ford Expeditions for their criminal activities. They have plenty of room, you can get them with dark windows standard, and they are very tough. It's the same reason clandestine "security" organizations use them. Should Apple ban Ford's advertising and any apps they have because of this? Should Apple ban other apps that DO allow Ford advertisements? 
    It's one thing when a country such as China says Apple cannot offer Twitter in the AppStore. It's another when Apple rejects an App because it doesn't fit with their image. It's my phone. If I want, for example, a porn app on it how is it Apples place to say no? If I want to use an app in a way that Apple doesn't agree with, how do they have the right to say that's not allowed? It's my phone. It's my time. It's my business. 

    Who made them arbiter of how I can use the device I paid for?

    I wonder if this is part of the reason there is growing pressure to allow side loading of Apps on Apple devices? 
    Because you are not seeing that the App Store belongs to Apple so they make the rules of how/what they want to sale. 

    You may own the iPhone hardware but you don’t own the OS heck you don't even own the apps. You may think you do but then the developer changes to a subscription model and you are f or build an entire new app that you have to pay again and stopped supporting the one you think you owned. 

    Same as Target not wanting Salvation Army outside the stores. 

    Same as Walmart for allowing Salvation Army.

    Same as a restaurant when they decide to offer a certain Menu. 

    You know what you are getting yourself into when buying the iPhone. I bet you (not you everyone really) tap Agree, Next, Next, Next at setup without reading. 

    On your example of Ford the crimes are not being committed on an iPhone app. Human trafficking was directly happening through the Facebook app  violating the App Store rules.   So they get to regulate and intervene directly.
    All correct, and that leads to my last point. Maybe people are getting sick of Apple’s heavy hand about what is and is not acceptable on our devices. Maybe Apple has only itself to blame for the pressure to allow other stores.  Maybe the harder they try to hang onto control, the more people will rebel and it will slip through their fingers. 
    Not really you have mixed points. The only people wanting other stores are people that want to sideload free buggy crap or greedy developers that wants to enjoy the access of billions of iPhones without paying a dime. 


    williamlondonwatto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.