Facebook's Protect security feature is essentially Spyware

Facebook's Protect iOS feature effectively installs spyware on iPhones and iPads

You may have seen a new button in Facebook's mobile app lately: under the Settings menu, a "Protect" option leads you to download an app called Onavo Protect. Onavo has made clear that owner of the application, Facebook, has unlimited access on all the data collected from users.

This past fall, Facebook snatched up the teen compliment app tbh, and quickly integrated a similar Q&A feature into its social network soon after. While this app is now being pushed via Facebook iOS app, it's also available on Android Play Store.

"To provide this layer of protection, Onavo uses a VPN to establish a secure connection to direct all of your network communications through Onavo's servers". While it appears that the rollout is just to test the said feature in the country, many argue that Onavo VPN is only a part of a growing Facebook effort to spy on people's mobile activities and take down its competitors. If you want to use a powerful VPN service for free, you have to expect the company to make money in some regard, and that happens to be your data for Facebook's uses.

'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 has not yet issued an official statement on the addition of Onavo to its main app.

Thankfully, it's not activated by default and requires you to navigate to the Protect tab in the app's settings, and then install the app yourself. Because Facebook owns Onavo, and the two share data, it means Facebook has access to information about what apps and services you're running while the VPN is activated.

'This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analysing your use of websites, apps and data. To avoid targeted ads, which are mighty annoying in the constrained space of a phonescreen, 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.

CNBC, meanwhile, pointed out that Facebook is peddling this app "without first disclosing that it's owned by Facebook". The app is actually packed with powerful features that include secure browsing when connected to a public Wi-Fi. Disconnect Pro is a VPN that also blocks tracking and malware, so it may be a good alternative to Onavo Protect if that's what you're looking for.

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