Facebook Promoting its Onavo VPN in Facebook iOS App

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:10 AM.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Facebook has started promoting the Onavo VPN client it acquired back in 2013 directly within the Facebook app for iOS devices. A link to the Onavo VPN client is available in the Facebook app in the United States under a new "Protect" section of the Facebook navigation menu.

    To get to it, tap on the hamburger menu in the right hand side of the app, and then scroll down. "Protect" features a blue icon with a shield, and when you tap on it, it links to the Onavo VPN app in the iOS App Store.

    [​IMG]

    As TechCrunch points out, while Onavo offers to "keep your data safe while you browse" and let you know when you "visit potentially malicious or harmful websites," Facebook's real aim with Onavo is tracking user activity across multiple different apps to learn insights about how its customer base uses third-party apps.
    In August of last year, The Wall Street Journal took a look at how Facebook uses Onavo to track what people do on their smartphones outside of the Facebook ecosystem. Using Onavo data, for example, Facebook was able to determine that the Instagram Stories feature was impacting Snapchat's business well ahead of when Snap disclosed slowing user growth.

    As The Wall Street Journal explains, whenever a person using Onavo opens an app or website, Onavo redirects the traffic to Facebook's servers and logs the action in a database, allowing Facebook to draw conclusions about app usage from aggregated data.

    Onavo for iOS and Android has been installed on more than 33 million devices, according to Sensor Tower, with 62 percent of those installs on Android. TechCrunch speculates that Facebook may be promoting Onavo in the iOS app to encourage more iOS users to download the app.

    Facebook is clear about Onavo's purpose, with a disclosure available on the App Store: "Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. 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."

    Article Link: Facebook Promoting its Onavo VPN in Facebook iOS App
     
  2. malcolmman89 macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Great. As if Facebook tracking cookies weren't collecting enough data about browsing habits. Now they can see all of the traffic coming and going from your device.
     
  3. itsmilo macrumors 65816

    itsmilo

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    #3
    I dont think i ever clicked on anything but „most recent“ and „privacy settings“ on this endless list that keeps on growing in their menu
     
  4. rizzo41999 macrumors 6502

    rizzo41999

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  5. PieTunes macrumors 6502

    PieTunes

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    #5
    Color me not so surprised. I’ll just add this to the growing list of why I don’t use Facebook.
     
  6. Cyber86 macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Wait. A VPN app... with the sole purpose of tracking you. I think that’s just called “The Internet”. :confused:
     
  7. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 6502a

    H3LL5P4WN

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    #7
    FB is trying to redefine the acronym VPN to Virtual Privacy Nabber.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:21 AM ---
    You spelled "Facebook" wrong. lol
     
  8. stygs macrumors newbie

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    #8
    This seems a wee predatory. Everyone says “Use a VPN to keep your data safe”. So Facebook offers a VPN, but instead of keeping you private, it opens you up further to them. Perhaps it technically IS a VPN... Just seems like the P part isn’t really quite true.
     
  9. Fafafoooey macrumors member

    Fafafoooey

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    #9
    Pass. I would rather use Opera VPN. Free and Opera at least more "trustworthy" with privacy than FB.
     
  10. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    #10
    Lets see what Facebook will do with the new EU privacy law.
     
  11. Avieshek macrumors 6502a

    Avieshek

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  12. adamjackson macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Can we please get some protection from the Feds on this sort of thing? Consumer Protection needs to kick in. I don't think people understand how this works especially if 33 million people are using it.
     
  13. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

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    #13
    So what does the consumer get out of this deal? Facebook gets to track everyone, but there is no "P" in this VPN..
     
  14. PierJes macrumors newbie

    PierJes

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    #14
    That's the trouble with Facebook...
    It's more of an advertising network than a social network.

    They are going to lose.
     
  15. soupcan macrumors 6502a

    soupcan

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    #15
    Well no ****, it's Facebook. Whaddaya expect? Something useful that doesn't contain a tracker in every line of code made by them?

    How this level of privacy invasion is stil legal is beyond me.
     
  16. cuwickliffe macrumors newbie

    cuwickliffe

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    #16
    What a peculiar story as I've always equated Facebook with trustworthiness and the security of my private browsing data.







    /s
     
  17. petsounds macrumors 65816

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    #17
    This feels like it would violate Apple’s TOS, or at least the intent of it. Apple really needs to take swift action on this to protect users from what is basically malware.
     
  18. fairuz, Feb 13, 2018 at 11:36 AM
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    fairuz macrumors 6502a

    fairuz

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    #18
    I still find it funny that everyone uses VPN for what an HTTPS proxy is supposed to be meant for just cause HTTPS proxies are annoying and always silently fail to proxy some connections.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 at 11:39 AM ---
    The "P" is it's secure from hackers on the network. Same as any VPN, you have to trust the host. People freak about this but gladly use some sketchy af VPN based in a random country. I don't get it. Even worse, some people install new CA roots from these sketchy sources, and I hope it's cause they just don't know better.

    BTW, connections over HTTPS are still going to be secured in this. Facebook probably just wants to look at which URLs you visit since that's still visible and use that to track your habits. Ofc I won't use this cause I live in the US anyway, plus I hate Facebook, but if I lived somewhere with restricted access, I'd probably take the bait tbh. Definitely worth it.
     
  19. mariusignorello macrumors 65816

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    #19
    What’s the sense in even using this if privacy isn’t part of the equation? VPNs are only good if privacy is maintained or you need to access resources behind a secure network.
     
  20. modemthug macrumors regular

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  21. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #21
    Ignorance can be corrected. Stupid is a whole different matter. Too many people install Facebook and associated apps, without taking the time to read the EULA at install, as well as subsequent updates. They are too concerned about reading the latest meaningless drivel, or posting their personal details for all to see.

    The Feds can't even police themselves. More Larry, Moe, and Curly is not what is needed.

    Knowledge is power.
     
  22. fairuz macrumors 6502a

    fairuz

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    #22
    The Feds are probably happy about this as long as Facebook complies with investigations.
     
  23. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #23
    I don't see how Apple will let this update stand, especially when they have given the axe to so many other apps.
     
  24. avatar77 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 21, 2017
    #24
    Oh man, that's rich. The "Feds" are busy dismantling consumer protections, starting with the CFPB and of course our good friend Mr. Pai at the FCC. Do you think there's a ghost of a chance they'll care about this?
     
  25. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 6502a

    H3LL5P4WN

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    #25
    There is. It's just raining down on your head.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 at 12:39 PM ---
    You've never heard of the 14 Eyes, have you?
     

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