Facebook SDK Bug Broke Several Popular iOS Apps Like Spotify, TikTok, More
Facebook wreaked havoc on Wednesday as a major bug caused a large number of iOS apps to crash for more than three hours. According to GitHub reports and social media, apps like DoorDash, Spotify, TikTok, and more start crashing sometime around 6:30 PM ET on May 6. Developers on Twitter and GitHub were quick to discover the cause which rested in a software development kit (SDK) from Facebook.
Facebook Wreaks Havoc Through SDK Bug, Rippled Major Impact on Popular iOS Apps
The Facebook SDK is integrated into the operations of numerous mobile apps from small and large scale companies. While Facebook did recover through its quick actions and an early fix to the bug, it is indeed a question mark on how the company's platform is capable of wreaking through minor errors.
It’s not just Spotify, here is a current list of all the apps that aren’t working right now:
-The Walmart App
There’s more, your phone isn’t broken, it’s the apps
— Booby Squish (@aburninghilll) May 6, 2020
Facebook was not clear when it issued a statement regarding how the SDK could have triggered the crashes. Applications that had no connection to Facebook and did not even rely on the platform for login were affected. Developer Guilherme Rambo stated to The Verge that the issue rests on how Facebook markets the SDK.
“Facebook really pushes developers into installing their SDK, likely because they want the very rich data they can collect on those app’s users. 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,”
According to reports, there were changes to Facebook SDK were made on the server that provides the data when an app is opened. The reports point that Facebook made an update to its SDK servers in order to identify if an app was a health app or not. Moreover, the SDK was supposed to respond in a certain format and when it didn't, the Facebook SDK crashed along with bringing the apps down with it which it had affected.
So Facebook broke its iOS SDK and it’s fascinating seeing which apps people notice are broken.
— Sarah Emerson (@_loveallthis) May 6, 2020
Spotify took note of the issue as well. The company potentially reverted the changes which seem to have fixed the issue. Clearly, the social networking giant did not implement the variations well on the server front, and it's unusual to see a company as big as Facebook to let go of something that ripples potential threats to a wide range of apps.
Rambo also states that there should be ways to prevent this from happening as it could have major impacts. Developers could decide whether to implement a sign-in option using the Facebook SDK so as to prevent the bugs from crashing the app. Moreover, companies like Apple can implement system-wide protections via permissions granted to third-party SDKs.
“If you grant the app permission to access your location, contacts or calendar, the third-party code it embeds can also get that information. The only way to fix that would be to implement some form of sandboxing model that separates third-party SDKs from an app’s own code,”
As of now, a server-side patch fixed the issue three hours later. Did you experience any app crashes and issues on your iOS devices? Let us know in the comments.