wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

, , , ,

Facebook kills ‘Facebook Research’ and the Onavo app: report


Facebook is putting an end to its “Facebook Research” market research app which tracked and collected the users’ phone and web activity details, take its Onavo VPN app off the Google Play Store, shut down the Onavo Protect app and stop pulling market data but keep the VPN on till a replacement is found, reports TechCrunch.

  • Facebook’s current research through the Facebook Research app will continue
  • Facebook will not recruit new users for the app
  • Facebook’s statement to TechCrunch, “Market research helps companies build better products for people. We are shifting our focus to reward-based market research which means we’re going to end the Onavo program.”

Facebook Research was similar to the Onavo Protect VPN app, which Apple banned from its App Store last year over privacy violations. Facebook had been paying users aged 13-35 years up to $20 per month via gift cards since 2016 to install the iOS and Android app. The app was originally called “Facebook Research” when launched in 2016, but was changed to “Project Atlas” in mid-2018, “when backlash to Onavo Protect magnified” and Apple changed its App Store rules, resulting in the fencing out of Onavo.

In 2013, Facebook bought Onavo for $200 million, which helped it buy WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion.

Further reading: These Confidential Charts Show Why Facebook Bought WhatsApp

The revelations from Cambridge Analytica

In December last year, the UK Parliament’s digital, culture, media, and sport (DCMS) Committee found, through internal Facebook documents:

  • Facebook bought WhatsApp because it saw it as a potential “Facebook killer”, outdoing Facebook Messenger in the volume of messages, as well as time spent on the app
  • Facebook also bought Onavo to get access to its data analytics and app usage tracking across phones, which Apple blocked from its App Store, for data gathering.
  • Facebook was providing favourable user data access, including access to a user’s friends, to (“large app partners”) companies like Airbnb and Netflix (between 2012-2015) (more here)
  • Zuckerberg would have liked to charge developers for access to user data, but Facebook did not execute this
  • An update to the Facebook Android app would collect user call logs, and Facebook tried hard to hide this from its users

Also read: 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



India and US come to terms on how to deal with the equalisation levy in light of the impending Global Tax Deal.


Find out how people’s health data is understood to have value and who can benefit from that value.


The US and other countries' retreat from a laissez-faire approach to regulating markets presents India with a rare opportunity.


When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.


The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ