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Due to the issues caused by Facebook SDK, a number of popular iOS apps like TikTok became unavailable for users.
Facebook‘s developer app also known as Facebook SDK is causing a malfunction in apps like TikTok, Pinterest, Spotify, and other iOS apps that depend on the software’s functionality. The Facebook SDK is widely used by iOS-based apps and the observed malfunction that has been confirmed by Facebook does not affect Android Apps. Some apps crash when a user tries to open them but others can be launched if the device is offline.
If you’re experiencing issues opening certain apps on iOS right now (like TikTok, Spotify, COD Mobile, and more), it has to do with an issue with Facebook and their iOS SDK. If you use Facebook login for COD Mobile, the app may not work until issue is fixed. https://t.co/9VdeXxo45W
— Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) July 10, 2020
The problem has been attributed to Facebook SDK that has a track record of causing similar issues back in May. Third-party apps integrate with the Facebook SDK to enable things like account login, analytics, and ads platform integration, and whatever issues the analytic tool develops will affect the apps it supports.
Use of Facebook SDK and Probable Cause of This Crash
The Software Development Kit has a multi-faceted advantage. It is used to manage user logins, thus giving access to curate user’s data. “The SDK is offered as a convenience for both developers and marketing teams since it can also be used to track the conversions of ads run through Facebook,” software developer Guilherme Rambo revealed in May.
As explained by Benjamin Mayo, the Facebook SDK communicates back and forth with a data server. The client app code expects the data returned by the server to be in a particular format. But when the server suddenly starts sending data in a different format, the framework code is not prepared to handle the invalid response. So, the app code tries to access values that don’t exist – which leads to a fatal error, and the app crashes.
Examining the Implications: TikTok Case
TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app has garnered a huge customer base. TikTok became available in the United States after merging with Musical.ly on 2 August 2018 and by October 2018, the app became the most downloaded app in the United States and around the world.
The uniqueness of TikTok became globally appreciated as the coronavirus pandemic rages. And the recent tension between India and China has caused India to ban the app with the U.S. likely to exert similar sanctions. These events are happening simultaneously with the Facebook SDK mishap. This Facebook SDK irregularity will further demur the brand image of the app if it lingers.