Facebook’s Onavo Protect app is about to shut down in the coming days, and this will cease it from accessing data of users for market research. However, it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network for a limited period of time in order to allow users to find a replacement. The recruitment of new users for the Facebook Research app has also completely stopped.
However, Facebook Research app studies which are ongoing will continue. It has decided to run paid programs where users will be remunerated for giving up their privacy since more scrutiny of privacy violation has begun by search engines.
Onavo has billed itself in such a way, that it is able to curb apps from using background data. It will provide a secure VPN network so that your personal information remains reticent. However, it will take into account, the amount of time you spend using apps, mobile and WiFi data you use per app, websites you visit, your country, device and network type.
A Facebook spokesperson said, “Market research helps companies build better products for people. We are shifting our focus to reward-based market research which means we’re going to end the Onavo program.”
To recall, Facebook acquired Onavo in 2013 for a price of $200 million so that it can use its VPN app and gather data about what people are doing on their smartphones. Last year Apple made Facebook remove the Onavo VPN app from app store due to privacy concerns. However, Facebook repurposed Onavo code to use it in its Facebook Research app. This app was reportedly paying $20 gift cards to users in the US between the age group of 13 to 35 years per month in return of letting them spy on them.
The social media giant ran an obscure program, which informed nothing to users other than whom it recruited for its Facebook Research program. A Facebook spokesperson reportedly said that there is nothing secret about this. However, it threatened users with legal action if they discussed anything publicly about the programme.