When Facebook introduced its own VPN service last month, many critics and tech experts were skeptical. After all, there are so many good VPN options already available for users who want to protect their privacy online. Why trust one from Facebook? Well, it seems like those fears have already come true — a security researcher revealed this week that the app sends users’ data back to Facebook even when it’s turned off.
According to researcher Will Strafach, the app (called Onavo Protect) collects information about users’ Wi-Fi and cellular usage even when the VPN is off. For some reason, it even notifies Facebook when a users’ device screen is turned on or off. And of course, this is just on top of the data Facebook can collect about you when it’s app is on. That includes what websites you’re visiting, what files you’ve downloaded and much more.
While Facebook billed Onavo as a way for users to protect themselves from prying eyes online, it’s really putting a massive amount of private information into Facebook’s hands. And the company can pretty much do anything it wants with your info once it has it, including giving it to the highest bidder if Facebook ever sells the app. So, in short: there’s no reason to use the social media giant’s VPN if you can avoid it.
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