Blog Post

How Facebook integration with iOS/OS X works

When Apple (s AAPL) announced a system-level integration with Facebook (s FB) this morning, I uttered a silent groan and cursed under my breath. On Twitter, I was more polite. “Not so thrilled by the Facebook integration into the new IOS 6.0. I wonder what are the privacy precautions to deal with Facebook,” I wondered out loud.

I just don’t want Facebook constantly tracking me and I don’t want any information leaking especially on my iPhone. Perturbed, I tried to get more details on the integration from Apple. Here is what I understand about how it works – when using the system-level single sign-on, when you want to share something via Facebook, the system logs you into Facebook, shares whatever you want to share — a link, a video, a photo or whatever — and then logs you out.

You still need to go to the browser to login to Facebook (if you don’t enable auto-login). The contact and calendar data is shared only after you approve the sharing and also is a process that doesn’t allow constant sharing. In addition, there is no information being leaked from the system, I was assured. Apparently this is also how Twitter’s system level integration works.

However, despite all those assurances, I feel a little queasy by this partnership. I think am just going to skip the whole single sign-on option – I simply don’t trust Facebook. As someone on Twitter said: “Its an ideological mismatch: one company cares about users vs the other doesn’t. FB’s founder/management are careless w privacy.”

14 Responses to “How Facebook integration with iOS/OS X works”

  1. Nice research,
    Malik, I read a few things about the Facebook procedures, but haven’t seen it tied together until now. I’m especially interested in the result only. I’m guessing this is to connect potential future attackers with their funding sources.

    Thanks and Regards;
    kanu [AT] arthinfosoft [DOT] in

  2. Michael Schultz

    You all are all freaks. There I’ve insulted you, now most of you wont read the rest of my response. Ha!

    What in the world are you so scared off? Facebook ALREADY has all your information. How did they get it? Oh yeah, you GAVE it to them remember.

    How is system integration, which basically just makes it so you don’t have to login/logout constantly a “privacy concern”?

    You all have lost it. Grow up.

    Also if you don’t like Facebook, get off. Really sick of people complaining about a free, extremely useful tool. Go play with Google+ or something. Google won’t be “infecting” your iPhone for a long time. Haha

  3. Well Steve said that talks with Facebook fell through a few years ago due to their “Onerous” terms. Like tracking folk I imagine. Hopefully they’ve been brought down a peg or two and told what the terms are by Apple. I don’t particularly trust any corporation, but I trust Apple way more than both Google or Facebook.

  4. Jimmy Joe

    great point giovanni. i am an android user and i love the fb and linkedin integration with my contacts. this might just move me over to iphone.

  5. Who are you trying to kid? Apple, facebook and google are already tracking your every move, building databases, storing whatever they can about you. The weird thing is that people allow it to continue.

  6. I wonder when Apple will release details around how Credits will be allowed or how it will work in this new partnership? A pending battle for your 30%… or will they come up with a creative way to split the profits?

  7. I agree, the two don’t sit well with me either. I saw a screen shot of the sign on the single sign on process and yes, it tells you are going to share contracts and calendars etc but it doesn’t allow you to choose on or the other. So effectively, you activate single sign on and all your facebook contacts are sync’d with my phone and calender. The last thing I want are facebook contacts on my phone.

    You should be able to selectively control what you can add.

    Apple needs to tread fairly carefully with Facebook integration. As much as it’s all part of our daily lives whether we like it or not, people are growing tired of it and business will hate it on the devices. Not least can you whole heartedly trust there is no data flowing back and forth?

    • Glenn

      I agree with your observations. I am still not sure about this partnership for I do know FB will try and do something sneaky. Let’s just hope Apple can keep those guys in check.

      • Giovanni Iachello

        I don’t understand the concern.

        How is this different from Android which has had account integration w/FB, LinkedIn, as well a number of other social networks/sharing sites (for share, contacts, and within apps) for a while?

        And by the way, the unified contact lists functionality is convenient.