Facebook may have just been caught spying on teens' phones under the guise of "market research," but the company isn't about to apologize for it.
In a company memo published by Business insider, Facebook's VP of Production, Engineering, and Security Pedro Canahuati, attempts to explain the company's ongoing drama with Apple that resulted from news of its "research" app being made public.
Apple earlier revoked Facebook's Enterprise Certificate, which allows companies to distribute apps internally outside of its App Store. Thousands of Facebook employees rely on these apps for day-to-day work. On Thursday, Apple granted Facebook a new Enterprise Certificate, but the company now has to rebuild "a few dozen" apps, as Canahuat explained in his memo to employees.
Canahuati also defended Facebook's research tactics, and implied that the only issue was in how Facebook's research methods have been portrayed in the media.
"This is a market research program that helps us understand consumer behavior and trends to build better mobile products," Canahuati wrote.
"TechCrunch implied we hid the fact that this is by Facebook – we don't. People participated in this program with full knowledge that Facebook was sponsoring this research, and were paid for it. They could opt-out at any time."
Canahuati made no mention of the fact that the "Facebook Research" app was found to be suspiciously similar to Onavo, the Facebook-owned VPN app Apple yanked last year for similarly concerning privacy violations. As for Apple's decision to pull the company's Enterprise Certificate, Canahuati chalks it up to a misunderstanding, saying "our relationship with Apple is really important."
"Apple's view is that we violated their terms by sideloading this app, and they decide the rules for their platform. Our relationship with Apple is really important — many of us use Apple products at work every day, and we rely on iOS for many of our employee apps, so we wouldn't put that relationship at any risk intentionally."
Canahuati isn't the first Facebook executive to defend the company's practices. His memo comes one day after COO Sheryl Sandberg also defended the move in an appearance on CNBC.
Facebook couldn't immediately be reached for comment.