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Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

February 22, 2019 / JANKO ROETTGERS

Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes.Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company is getting ready to disable it for users who already have the app installed on their phones. “We are shifting our focus to reward-based market research which means we’re going to end the Onavo program,” a Facebook spokesperson told Techcrunch, which was first to report about the changes.Ovano was developed by an Israel-based startup close to a decade ago. Facebook acquired the company in 2013, and subsequently used the app to gather information on the way people were using their mobile phones. Data gathered by Ovano included the names of apps installed on its users’ phones, which reportedly helped the company to identify the grow...