The story illustrates that there are multiple ways for good guys to stop bad guys, and sometimes a comparatively pedestrian option works best.
Facebook isn’t the mob and Apple certainly isn’t untouchable, but over the past two days, the tech giants have been cast in villain and hero roles, as Apple punished Facebook for distributing a questionable app (Project Atlas!)
There was actually much more to the story, but given the nonstop wave of revelations about Facebook’s business practices, those details were enough for the court of public opinion to declare the company guilty — and shrug off Apple’s chosen punishment of disabling all of Facebook’s internal iOS apps.
And while Facebook has deservedly taken heat recently for many offensive activities (disclosure: I and members of my family have stopped using the service), this particular situation wasn’t as cut and dried as good finally prevailing over evil.
Similar to the Capone situation, Facebook’s data-gathering app wasn’t shut down because it was tangibly hurting or ripping off innocent people, but rather because it arguably — note the word arguably — violated either the word or spirit of Apple’s enterprise developer agreement.
Near the beginning of the enterprise document, Apple directly tells developers: