Friday’s widespread crashes of popular apps running on the iPhone’s iOS operating system, including Tinder, Spotify, and Pinterest, serve as a reminder that Facebook is still tracking you through your phone using sophisticated software, even if you’re not browsing the social network.
Early Friday, app users reported crashes when they tried to open them. Facebook attributed the problem, which was quickly fixed, to a bug in its software development kit, or SDK, a tool that developers use to integrate their applications with Facebook.
The integration allows people to use their Facebook credentials to sign in to apps for dating, music, or anything else. Google, Apple, and other companies also offer SDKs to developers.
It also allows app developers to send data from their app to Facebook, which tracks and measures what people do in apps. The data is useful to both app developers and Facebook, which uses sophisticated systems to measure how people respond to ads, how they use their service, and how much time they spend on it.
In March, the Zoom video call service was sued in California for sharing user data with Facebook using its SDK, a practice it now says has stopped.
The Facebook SDK triggered similar blocks in May. The company said in a statement Friday that “a code change caused crashes for some iOS apps that use the Facebook SDK.”
The crashes occurred on Friday even if users had not logged into the apps using Facebook.
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