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Facebook pulls Onavo VPN app

(Image credit: Image Credit: Anthony Spadafora)

Facebook is changing its data gathering strategy to be more transparent and more upfront about what it's doing and for what reasons.

This is according to TechCrunch, which found that Facebook's shady Onavo VPN app is getting pulled, its Facebook Research app is no longer accepting new users, and that the company will, from now on, let people know exactly what they're being paid for.

Late last month, the media uncovered that Facebook was, almost secretly, distributing a VPN app called Facebook Research, which was based on the Onavo app. It was being distributed through beta testing services like Betabound and Applause.

Users (mostly teens, but older people, up to 35 years of age, too) were being paid $20 a month to use it, not knowing that Facebook was gathering a ton of data on them, through the use of the app.

It appears that the data Facebook collected included private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information.

Now, after public outcry, Facebook is taking Onavo off the Play Store, and will no longer accept people for the Research app. TechCrunch believes that without Onavo, Facebook will be lacking a 'powerful method of market research'.

Image Credit: Anthony Spadafora