If you were on the edge of your chair, wondering what Facebook's next big consumer secret headache would be, the wait is over! Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has considered Facebook-owned app Onavo in violation of the App Store guidelines and will give it a startup card.
In a statement to TechCrunch, an Apple spokesman explained the reasons behind his decision to withdraw the app:
We work hard to protect the user's privacy and data security throughout Apple's ecosystem. With the latest update of our policies, we made it clear that apps should not collect information about what other apps are installed on a user's device for the purpose of analyzing or advertising / marketing, and must make clear which user data is to be collected in and how it is used.
In some ways, it is strange that Onavo has been there for so long.
Onavo, as Facebook bought back in 201
But Onavo's real tool pumps lots of app using data to the parent company, Facebook gives an invaluable bird's eye view of mobile trends by observing which apps are getting traction and fizzling out. That perspective is useful both from a product perspective, so that Facebook can get ahead of the competition (Snapchat is a good example), and it makes an advantage to consider which competitors to acquire.
The dual personality is probably a part of Apple's problem. In his descriptions, Onavo is heavily looking at his promise to "protect your personal information" and the cover story of a fairly legitimate-looking VPN.
Without meaningful login for users who want to use Onavo VPN services, but may be tough to share data with Facebook, the app's true intentions are buried deeply in the description: "Onavo collects mobile data traffic … Because we are part of Facebook, we also use this information to improve Facebook products and services, gain insight into the products and services that people value and build better experiences. "
In February this year, the Onavo app was downloaded more than 33 million times across both iOS and Android. Although the app is no longer appearing in Apple App Store, it still lives in Google's significantly more free rest app store, so Facebook has to lean heavier on its Android eyes and ears for now.