In 2015, Facebook was found to be abusing its VoIP capabilities in its main iOS app in order to run in the background, even when permissions to do so were explicitly disabled.
Facebook, however, denied that it uses PuskKit for collecting user data, saying: "We are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the goal of collecting data". However, app developers will be given a deadline until April 2020 to comply with the changes.
When third party apps like WhatsApp are using VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, making calls using the phone's internet connection, they can also collect data in the background.
It may seem like a relatively minor tweak, but it'll force Facebook to redesign the way its messaging apps work, sources told The Information.
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With iOS 13, the only background data these apps will have access to is for internet calling. A company spokesperson told the Information "we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the objective of collecting data". New reports claim that the smartphone maker will block two Facebook-owned apps from running VOIP in the background on privacy grounds.
Until now, apps have relied on PushKit, a background VoIP process that enabled them to detect incoming calls without the app being reopened. This will be hitting Facebook a little harder than others as it has the feature a number of apps, including Facebook Messenger.
The move comes in the midst of a battle over both privacy and messaging.
But app developers can also exploit the persistence mechanism to collect data, something Apple is putting a stop to in its upcoming software update. This change is certainly privacy-friendly and should help with battery life.