Facebook Will Pull its Mobile VPN App, Onavo Protect, From the App Store

Mobile VPN apps are pretty common these days. Facebook acquired one back in 2013 called Onavo Protect, but it looks like its time in the App Store is coming to an end.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, following Apple’s declaration that the Onavo Protect app violates the App Store guidelines, Facebook has decided to pull the app altogether. According to the report, Apple informed Facebook that the app infringes upon privacy rules implemented in the App Store back in June of this year. The rules restrict developers’ ability to create databases of user information, and then sell that information to third-party entities.

In addition to that, the Onavo Protect app allegedly also infringed upon a rule tied to the iOS developer agreement. In that case, an app can only use the data collected in a certain way, and cannot be used outside of the core function of the app. In the case of the Onavo Protect app, which is a mobile VPN app, Facebook has been using the data it collected in a variety of different ways.

That includes the ability to monitor a smartphone owner’s behavior outside of the core app, which helped Facebook make decisions on different moves, including the purchase of WhatsApp back in 2014. Facebook has been using the mobile VPN app as an analytical tool for years.

“Facebook Inc. plans to pull its data-security app from Apple Inc.’s app store after the iPhone maker ruled that the service violated its data-collection policies, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

The report indicates that the conversations between Facebook and Apple took place earlier this week, with the latter company suggesting the Onavo Protect app be voluntarily removed from the App Store. Facebook agreed to that and the app will apparently be pulled from the App Store later today. For the folks who have already installed it on iOS they will still be able to use it, but Facebook will no longer be updating it.

[via Wall Street Journal]