Facebook says its Onavo VPN app will soon be shutdown on Google Play Store

Facebook's decision comes after an expose by TechCrunch on the usage of the VPN app.

It has been a downhill slide for Facebook over the past few years. Recently an investigation had exposed that a Facebook Research app on iOS and Android was harvesting user data of teens in exchange for money.

The app has since then shut down on iOS but still active on Android. However, it was later revealed that another app called Onavo VPN was also being used for the same purposes. Now Facebook has said that it will be ending the app. The app was removed last year from Apple's App Store for violating privacy rules.

A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard - RC16103864C0

A Facebook panel. Reuters

Facebook's decision comes after an expose by TechCrunch on the usage of the VPN app along with Facebook Research app. The former will shut down eventually, however, the VPN feature in the app will still be active for a small-time till users find a suitable replacement, said a new TechCrunch report.

The Onavo app did state that it would be collecting "Time you spend using apps, mobile and Wi-Fi data you use per app, the websites you visit, and your country, device, and network type”. Facebook had acquired Onavo in 2013 for $200 million to make use of its VPN app for collecting mobile usage data.

As for the Facebook Research app, the company has said that it will cease to recruit new users to harvest data. Existing Facebook Research app studies will continue to run, though.

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