Feb 18, 2019

Facebook security app used to 'spy' on competitors

The cross-party group said that Facebook used its Onavo virtual private network app to gather information on competitors. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee wrote that through the use of Onavo, which was billed as a way to give users an extra layer of security, Facebook could "Collect app usage data from its customers to assess not only how many people had downloaded apps, but how often they used them". A graph the committee includes in the report shows an analysis of data collected with Onavo, detailing how commonly apps were used by Facebook owned and rival services. According to the report, as of November 2013, more than 5,000 apps on Facebook were "Whitelisted", meaning that they could gain special access to user data and the data of those user's Facebook friends. An internal email discussed linking a yearly spend of $250,000 on advertising to maintain company access to user Facebook data.

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