Convenience comes with a price, especially when it’s a monopoly that is providing the service.
On Friday morning, iPhone users around the world reported with great dismay that many of the most frequently used iOs apps, including Spotify and TikTok, were crashing immediately upon launch. The graphs on DownDetector.com were showing uniform outages across the device, with apps of all kinds suffering the same fate. And the culprit, it seems, is Facebook’s iOS software development kit, known as SDK, which provides the infrastructure for the apps’ log-in systems.
Facebook quickly acknowledged that it was seeing a spike in app-crashing errors on Friday morning and promised that it was investigating and addressing the situation.
Facebook provides app developers with a uniform log-in system that in many ways makes it easier for users to quickly register for an app without having to create a new username, profile, or password. But using the API comes with a cost, both for users and app developers. Facebook gives a significant amount of your data to the apps and in turn, Facebook receives a massive amount of data about users from the companies that use its SDK.
Facebook uses this data for a number of purposes, including customizing services and serving up advertisements. Data collected can be used for other projects and sales opportunities, as well. If you’ve ever wondered why Facebook shows you advertisements for the bands you listen to on Spotify or the publications you log-in to through your Facebook profile, there’s your answer.
According to The Verge, there were no such outages on Android systems on Friday.