Facebook’s iPhone app nabs a 'Protect' option that borders on spyware

Uh oh, Facebook seemingly has too big of a plan for its iOS mobile app, after trying to monetize its ubiquitous Messenger chat service. After chasing Snapchat, iMessage or Instagram with feature additions in the latter, it monetized with things like company chat bots, and other weird ways that are not in-your-face ads while you are humbly conversing with your beau.  

The same goes for the Facebook app that nearly everyone has installed on their iPhones and iPads. To avoid targeted ads, which are mighty annoying in the constrained space of a phone screen, tech companies are often turning towards mining user information and behavior for trends and data that can benefit them to fine tune their services for better outreach, or increased visibility.

It turns out that one way Facebook is approaching this conundrum, could be none other than the Onavo VPN app it acquired not long ago, arguably for a better protection of its user base. Thus, a "Protect" menu has recently turned up in the Facebook for iOS settings options, and it basically sends the owner to the Onavo app, which is supposed to reroute traffic through virtual private network servers, ostensibly to protect users from malicious web scripts, tracking and other everyday browsing threats.

The thing is, however, that Facebook and Onavo have teamed up to allow the social network's marketing honchos to monitor app activities in an overarching manner, thus providing invaluable insights what works and what doesn't across the mobile ecosphere. The Onavo app is installed on much less iPhones than Androids, that is why Facebook seems to be pushing it more aggressively on iOS in the US, but, as the app itself explains in its description, they are here to "improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and service people value, and build better experiences." Sounds a whole lot like what adware does, but Facebook begs to differ, and issued the following statement on the matter:


source: TechCrunch

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9 Comments

1. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

The fb app is the first thing I uninstall when I get a new phone. Terrible, terrible app. I just access fb via my browser. Then this morning for the first time ever I got a notification from my Opera browser that I had a fb notification. Quickly blocked that too. Facebook are insidious and one step from Malware.

2. Leo_MC

Posts: 6935; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I have tried Onavo VPN module in the past and it limited my internet speeds. I tested it again and it limits my speeds to 8 Mbps (not even 10% of my standard speeds). When (and if) I want VPN, I use AdBlock DNS proxy.

3. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Speed isn't the issue for me privacy is. Depending on what I'm doing I use VPN Unlimited, Proton and for streaming abroad Turbo VPN.

4. Leo_MC

Posts: 6935; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

AdBlock VPN protects my privacy while keeping my internet speeds intact.

5. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Block this does something similar but in the end they're not proper vpn's.

7. Leo_MC

Posts: 6935; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

What do you mean?

8. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

In the case of Block-This it's a local vpn on your phone screening traffic for ads. A proper vpn routes traffic through their servers.

9. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Adblock only filters ad traffic through their servers. All the rest of the traffic is open so you better look for something else if you want privacy. Either way all vpn's reduce the speed but it's an acceptable trade off for security in my opinion.

6. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1313; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

The fact that all your data is being monitored defeats the purpose of it being a "Virtual PRIVATE Network".

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