A Facebook app that was intended to protect people’s browsing privacy has been pulled by Apple from its app store because it actually collected significant data about the people using it.
The virtual private network (VPN) app Onavo Protect claimed to offer users a way to “keep you and your data safe” by passing internet traffic through a private server owned by Facebook.
Onavo Protect had been available on Apple’s app store for several years, however Facebook’s app was found to be in violation of new privacy rules introduced by the iPhone maker in June. The rules concerned the collection of data that is not directly relevant to the app’s purpose.
Through the app, Facebook was able to analyse user’s internet activity beyond Facebook and the removal of the VPN app, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, came despite talks between the two tech rivals last week.
“We’ve always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “As a developer on Apple’s platform we follow the rules they’ve put in place.”
An Apple spokesperson said: “We work hard to protect user privacy and data throughout the Apple ecosystem.”
The Onavo app remains available for Android devices through download on the Google Play store.