Facebook has recently engaged in measures to increase its customers’ online security. The company has attempted to secure its data after Cambridge Analytica reportedly stole data from Facebook users.

However, Facebook’s efforts have seemingly been insufficient, as the company recently had to remove a data-security app from Apple’s app store. The software reportedly violated Apple’s data-collecting rules.

Apple’s request has apparently increased tensions between the two companies. However, this situation has demonstrated that Facebook still has not managed to completely secure its users’ data.

According to a 2017 report by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook used the app to collect data about its rivals and scope out new product categories.  The app in question, Onavo Protect, was free for users to download from the app store. The app had constant updates which required approval from Apple’s review board. Therefore, Apple was probably aware of the app’s nefarious functions.

Onavo Protect helped users to “create a virtual private network that redirects internet traffic to a private server managed by Facebook,” according to WSJ. Facebook reportedly used the app to gather information about its customers’ phone usage when they were not using the company’s apps.

Apple reported that the app violated its new data-gathering rules. The rules were initially set in June.

Such rapid action between the settlement and Onavo’s removal begs the question: was Apple influenced by the recent user security scandals?  Apple has made it very clear that the app was not removed due to its data-gathering function, but rather gathering data which is not directly related to Facebook’s apps.

Although the app won’t be deleted from users’ phones, Facebook will not be able to access the data which the app has gathered.


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons