Facebook offers users Onavo VPN app, collects private user data in the process

Onava is an Israeli analytics company acquired by Facebook in 2013

Menlo Park social networking giant Facebook has started offering users a private virtual network (VPN) application that tracks and collects personal user data.

Users browsing through the Facebook mobile app’s extended menu might notice a new category labelled ‘Protect.’ If users click through, they’ll be given the option of downloading an app called Onavo Protect.

It’s a VPN app that prevents other services from tracking user’s private browsing and usage data. However, the app nonetheless sends Facebook personal data “including the applications installed on your device, your use of those applications, the websites you visit and the amount of data you use,” according to the app’s own privacy policy.

Onavo is a mobile analytics company based in Israel. The company was bought by Facebook in 2013 for an undisclosed amount.

The Onavo Protect — VPN Security app is currently only available on iOS. There’s an Android variant called Protect Free VPN+Data Manager, which seems to offer the same usage stats and VPN protections, albeit with a different UX design.

It’s also important to note that Facebook’s Protect tab currently only seems to be available for iOS users, as the Android devices running Facebook at MobileSyrup’s offices did not carry the feature.

Source: TechCrunch