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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.
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.
AppleInsider has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

FB knew and did nothing about it? They really are the most abysmal company. Makes them almost as bad as those they’re shielding. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

I’m already there.
South Korea fined Google 207.4 billion won (US$177 million) on Tuesday for leveraging its dominant power in the smartphone market to stunt development of competing operating systems.
Apple on Thursday announced an agreement in a lawsuit brought by U.S. developers against the company over its App Store practices, with terms including the institution of a $100 million Apple Small Developer Assistance Fund and more open communication between developers and customers regarding alternative payment methods.
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Apple on Thursday announced an agreement in a lawsuit brought by U.S. developers against the company over its App Store practices, with terms including the institution of a $100 million Apple Small Developer Assistance Fund and more open communication between developers and customers regarding alternative payment methods.
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