Facebook's VPN App Pulled From Apple Store For Privacy Violations

Faizal Ramli/Shutterstock.com

Facebook has once again found itself in a privacy pickle. The company had to pull one of its apps, Onavo Protect, from the Apple store for violating Apple's privacy guidelines.

Onavo Protect is a free-to-download app that claims to improve user privacy and block harmful websites. But in order to protect users from third parties and hackers, users of the app must connect to the internet using a private server owned by Facebook.

Facebook has been using the app to gather a treasure trove of user data on how people use their mobile devices. 

Apple recently released new app guidelines that include new rules about data collection for third parties. The decision to remove the app came after a discussion between Facebook and Apple, where Apple suggested the social media giant take down the app voluntarily, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The app is still available for download in the Google Play Store.

"As part of providing these features, Onavo may collect your mobile data traffic," the app's description states. "This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we're part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences."

Many security experts do recommend using a virtual private network, as they generally do help protect user data and make using public Wi-Fi safer. If you have already downloaded Onavo to your iPhone, you can continue using it. Though you might want to switch to a different VPN service that doesn't collect as much personal data.

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