Apple officials told Facebook last week that Onavo violated the company's data collection guidelines by developers and suggested Facebook voluntarily remove the app, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The app, which is considered a way to "keep you and your data safe", had been available for free download from the App Store for years.
The app, Facebook purchased with its 2013 acquisition of Israeli based mobile analysis launch Onavo, provides users with a VPN or virtual private network to help them stay secure online and keep browser history from malicious websites and bad actors. However, when you download Onavo, you allow the app to share data about what you do on your phone with Facebook.
Probably means that Facebook can track your activity across apps and it can use the data to detect new trends. If many young people are afraid of a cool new app, Facebook can decide how it will respond. It can also retrieve information about rivals like Snap. For example, Facebook knew that Snapchat's user growth had slowed down months before the company announced it announced, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.
Facebook said it has always been transparent with Onavo users about the app's data usage.
"We have always been ready when people download Onavo about the information collected and how it is used," the company said in a statement. "As a developer on Apple's platform, we follow the rules they've put in place."
The Onavo controversy is Facebook's latest data headspine, which has been handling for months with a scandal where data on as many as 87 Million people was bullied with Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultant tied to the Trump Presidential Campaign. The scandal raised questions about Facebook's handling of user data and if the company does enough to protect it.
Apple did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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