Facebook to shut down Onavo app that harvested user data for market research

Facebook will shut down its Onavo VPN app and end its unpaid market research programs in response to the latest privacy scandal involving the social network.

An investigative report by TechCrunch last month revealed that Onavo code was repurposed to be used in the Facebook Research app, which gathered user data and examined their smartphone activities. In exchange, Facebook sent up to $20 per month to the users, whose ages ranged from 13 to 35.

The data the app collected was widespread, and even included screenshots of Amazon purchase histories, according to the report. The extent of the data that the app harvested was unclear, but the level of access suggested that private chats, emails, location, and other sensitive information may have been gathered.

Apple blocked the Facebook Research app from its App Store after the report was published. The Onavo app, meanwhile, was taken down last year from the App Store due to privacy concerns, and now Facebook has voluntarily removed it from the Google Play Store….read more

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