Facebook is pushing its own Onavo VPN service within iOS app

Facebook users in the United States, and possibly elsewhere, are starting to see, or have been seeing for some time now a new Protect option in Facebook for iOS’s navigation menu, which redirects users to the Onavo VPN app on App Store…. Read the rest of this post here


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Facebook VPN ‘Onavo Protect’ Collects User Data Spawning Privacy Concerns

Internet privacy is a big concern for many, but it’s not just governments and spy agencies that are snooping on the things you’re doing online.

Technology companies are also tracking website users in a bid to improve their products and services. And they’re constantly becoming more powerful.

Social media giant Facebook is just one example of a company that keeps tabs on your internet activities. And it’s just released its own virtual private network (VPN) service, which is called Protect.

Facebook hasn’t been hugely vocal about the service, but according to TechCrunch, it’s now available as a free download iOS users.

Essentially, Facebook uses the service to gather data from its users. It will then analyse this information in a bid to “improve Facebook products and services”.

In 2013, Facebook acquired Onavo, which developed the popular VPN and data security service. However, it’s now available as part of the Facebook app.

You’re able to access the feature by clicking onto the navigation menu and choosing “Protect”. When you do this, you’re sent sent to the Onavo app.

As well as using the app to improve its products and user interface, Facebook has also implemented it to give users peace of mind when it comes to security.

Currently, it’s unknown how many users have actually come across the feature within the Facebook iOS app, or if the company plans to unveil other security features.

This isn’t the first time that the feature has popped up, though. In 2016, UK-based users discovered Protect in the Facebook app, although it’s unclear if the app will be launched overseas officially.

Another reason why Facebook may be doing this is to market the service. Users are being encouraged to download it from the App Store.

In the App Store description of the app, the company writes: Onavo Protect helps keep you and your data safe when you browse and share information on the web.

“This powerful app helps keep you safe by understanding when you visit potentially malicious or harmful websites and giving you a warning.”

“It also helps keep your details secure when you login to websites or enter personal information such as bank accounts and credit card numbers.”

Onavo has since confirmed that the service has come to  iOS users in America. Speaking to TechCrunch, product manager Erez Naveh said: “We recently began letting people in the U.S. access Onavo Protect from the Facebook app on their iOS devices.”

“Like other VPNs, it acts as a secure connection to protect people from potentially harmful sites. The app may collect your mobile data traffic to help us recognize tactics that bad actors use.”

“Over time, this helps the tool work better for you and others. We let people know about this activity and other ways that Onavo uses and analyses data before they download it.”

Learn More: Why VPNs Are Incredibly Important for iOS 11 Users

iDrop News

Facebook Recommending iOS Users to ‘Protect’ Themselves by Installing Onavo VPN App

Facebook is rolling out a new ‘Protect’ feature for iOS users where it is urging then to install the Onavo VPN app on their iPhone. While this sounds good on paper, the Onvavo VPN app collects a user’s browsing history and data in the context of improving its service. Continue reading
iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog

Facebook Promoting its Onavo VPN in Facebook iOS App

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.


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.

But Facebook didn’t buy Onavo for its security protections.

Instead, Onavo’s VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps’ new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more.

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.”

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Facebook is pushing its data-tracking Onavo VPN within its main mobile app

 Onavo Protect, the VPN client from the data-security app maker acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has now popped up in the Facebook app itself, under the banner “Protect” in the navigation menu. Clicking through on “Protect” will redirect Facebook users to the “Onavo Protect – VPN Security” app’s listing on the App Store. We’re currently… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch