Apple punishes Google over app rules

Facebook logo is seen on an android mobile phone

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The search engine was utilizing its own VPN iOS app also being distributed to Google's users through Apple's Enterprise Developer Program.

Facebook told CNBC that the certificate has been reinstated, though Apple has to confirm it.

That discovery of Facebook's methodology to all of this led Apple to pull the certificate for Facebook's internal apps based on the same certificate.

And while it seems like Google's app had less access than Facebook's, it still broke Apple's policy regarding its enterprise certificate: "Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked".

A source familiar with the situation informed the news outlet that pre-release beta versions of Google's iOS apps have stopped working as of Thursday.

The move came a day after Apple imposed similar restrictions on Facebook. The social network had been paying adults and teens to install a social media research app called Facebook Research that monitored users' browsing, calling, and shopping activities on their phones, TechCrunch's Josh Constine reported on Tuesday evening.

Google appears confident it would quickly regain its access.

Apple has restored Google's access to its iOS apps, according to Bloomberg's Mark Bergen. Facebook has since shut down the controversial VPN iOS app, but is still working with Apple to try and bring it back.

On the Screenwise Meter Play Store listing, for example, Google clearly states that data is collected for market research purposes and provides a link to its research panel membership page (you need to be on the panel to download the app). Instead, it was using the certification - which should only be used to create employee apps - to quietly make a consumer-accessible app, which circumvents Apple's standard review process. It is likely that this practice is widespread and involve much more than Google and Facebook. In response, Apple has reportedly revoked the enterprise certificates that allowed Google to skirt the rules.

The brief ban is said to have been disruptive for both Facebook and Google, disabling internal apps used by employees and preventing builds of internal apps that all relied on the now-revoked signing certificates. That's a no-no, according to Apple's rules. The company noted that the issue had no impact on its consumer services. Other apps blocked include a transportation app for Google employees called Gbus, and an app for Google's internal cafe.

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