The free Onavo app allows users to create a virtual private network that sends Internet traffic through a private server. It’s touted as a way to keep users and their data safe. But it also allows Facebook to collect and analyze Onavo users’ activity and see how they use their phones outside of the social media company’s app.
Apple informed Facebook of the violation earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reports. After meetings last week, Facebook voluntarily removed the Onavo app on Wednesday.
“We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem,” an Apple spokesperson said in an email to Deadline. “With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.”
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Facebook said it’s always been transparent with users about Onavo, which collects information about the apps installed on people’s phones, how much time they spend using them, the amount of data people use per app and the the websites they visit.
“We’ve always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used,” Facebook said in a statement to Deadline. “As a developer on Apple’s platform we follow the rules they’ve put in place.”
Apple, which makes its money through device sales and services, describes privacy as a “fundamental human right” and says it designs products “from the ground up to protect that information.”
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