Last week, Facebook announced that it would close Onavo, its VPN application that also monitored the Internet habits of its users. The company announced that from now on, it will focus on rewarded monitoring programs, that is, giving something in return to users for their data. Onavo was a part of Facebook’s market research campaign.
“Throughout the life of Facebook’s Research program, 18% of affected users were young.”
But these good intentions have been marred by a new controversy. After the discovery and the subsequent scandal (and nth related to privacy), Facebook lied about the number of young people spied not only by Onavo, but by its entire research program. At first, the social network said that young people were less than 5% of total users.
Onavo was only part of Facebook’s research program. In August of last year, Apple withdrew from the App Store another application called Research that, at first, was only intended for employees of the company. This app rewarded users with gift cards.
Now, Facebook has admitted that young spies did not constitute less than 5% of the total, but 18%. Facebook has shielded itself in that at the time when the app was removed from the App Store, young users were less than 5%. However, the company did not count the other affected users during the total life time of the application. This means that Facebook did not try to minimize the impact of its activities on minors.