Finally! Facebook Has Decided To Shutdown Its Spyware Onavo VPN App - TECH FOE

Finally! Facebook Has Decided To Shutdown Its Spyware Onavo VPN App



Social media giant Facebook is putting an end to its unpaid market research programs by pulling its Onavo VPN app from the Google Play Store, six months after it pulled the iOS version of Onavo VPN from Apple App Store, TechCrunch reports.

"Market research helps companies build better products for people," a Facebook spokesperson told Techcrunch while confirming the change. "We are shifting our focus to reward-based market which means we're going to end the Onavo program."


Acquired by Facebook in 2013 for a reported fee of $200 million, Onavo VPN promised to limit other applications from using too much data, and as well encrypt user's personal information and connection via a secure tunnel. The company however used the app for market research.

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Facebook used the Onavo Protect VPN app to monitor website people visit and as well as time spent, and other things. The data Facebook got fom Onavo Protect showed that WhatsApp users were sending as much as twice the messages sent on Facebook Messenger. This insight convinced Facebook to buy the messaging service for the sum of $19 billion.

The data Facebook analyzed from Onavo Protect VPN also helped it to monitors competitors, figure out what features or app to clone and integrate. Snapchat is a very big example here. Facebook used the Onavo Protect VPN app to discover some of  Snapchat's features which it then added to Instagram to grow and maintain her user base.


Facebook came under heavy scrutiny after a TechCrunch report revealed that it used code from Onavo Protect to build another app called "Facebook Research." The social media giant paid people to install the app in order to harvest every single meaningful data on their device.

"Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android 'Facebook Research' app," a TechCrunch report said.

In response to Facebook's actions, Apple banned Facebook's enterprise certificate and as well broke all of internal applications because Facebook violated the App Store guidelines. Facebook prompted Participants of the program to install an enterprise certificate, which Apple only allows developers to use for coporate apps and internal testing.

Though Facebook will kill Onavo Protect, TechCrunch notes that the app, will for now continue to operate as a "Virtual Private Network in the short-term to allow users to find a replacement."

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