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Facebook is shutting down Onavo, the controversial data collecting app. But the company plans to continue spy-like research in the future.

For those of you who are out of the loop, here’s a quick rundown. Facebook offered a free VPN app called Onavo on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Unsurprisingly, Facebook spied on everyone who used that app. This has been going on for a few years, and it’s had real-world implications. According to Buzzfeed, data obtained by Onovo is the primary reason why Facebook bought WhatsApp.

About a year ago, Facebook was forced to remove Onavo from the Apple App Store, as it conflicted with the Apple privacy policy. But until today, the app remained on the Google Play store. Right now, it’s impossible to download the Onavo app on an iPhone or Android phone. But Facebook will continue supporting the app on phones that downloaded the app before it was taken down, supposedly to spy on any uninformed kids.

Facebook’s (reluctant) decision to discontinue Onavo is a good sign for privacy… Maybe? Facebook says that it will focus on an app called Facebook Research in the future. Facebook Research, which was violently removed from the Apple App Store last month, is an app that pays users $20 a month to be spied on. As you can imagine, most Facebook Research users are kids that haven’t realized the value of their privacy.

Facebook Research is still available on Google Play, but it isn’t accepting new users right now. Since Facebook is continuing support for existing Onavo users, it’s fair to assume that the company is also supporting remaining Facebook Research users.

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via The Verge

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew Heinzman writes for How-To Geek and Review Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers.
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