Friday, July 10, 2020

Error in Facebook SDK “broke” Spotify, Tinder, TikTok and other iOS applications

Users of popular iPhone apps such as Spotify, Venmo, Tinder, TikTok, DoorDash, and Pinterest have experienced constant crashes due to a bug in the Facebook SDK. Crash reports began to arrive on the evening of May 7th.

The problem was caused by changes on the server side of Facebook.

“The new version of Facebook included changes that caused crashes for some users in applications using the Facebook iOS SDK. We quickly identified the problem and solved it. We apologize for any inconvenience, ”Facebook said.

Facebook SDKs are included in applications for a number of reasons: to provide a single sign-up using user accounts on Facebook and, at the same time, to launch metrics that are used for advertising on Facebook. Applications tried to contact Facebook servers and as a result failed. At the same time, crashes occurred even if users did not log into Facebook, did not install applications created by Facebook, or did not use any functions related to the social network in the affected applications. Many users do not even know that the Facebook SDK is turned on and often collects data inside applications.

On GitHub, reports of developers whose applications and users were affected have begun to appear. They were disappointed that attempts to solve the problem on their own turned out to be fruitless, and any action in the end had to be expected from Facebook. “Please move slower and break fewer things,” wrote lucas-tl on the GitHub thread, making fun of Facebook’s old motto, “Move faster and break things.”

A source familiar with the situation said that Facebook turned off updating the server configuration, which led to the failure of applications that use it. On GitHub, a user who could be a Facebook engineer said the company canceled the change on the server side, and this caused a crash.

This is not the first time that Facebook has caused problems in the ecosystem of iOS applications. For example, in early 2019, Apple temporarily revoked the Facebook certificate for using an application that secretly collected data from other services, including those that were not created by the social network.