With the app, called Onavo Protect, users can develop a virtual private network that redirects internet traffic to a private server managed by Facebook, which will send alerts when a user visits a potentially malicious site. However, Facebook was also able to use the app to collect and analyze users’ activity to gauge how people use their phones, which violated Apple's new rules that limit data collection by app developers. Onavo also violated a part of Apple's developer agreement that prohibits apps from being used for analysis or marketing.
After meetings to discuss the matter last week, Apple suggested that Facebook voluntarily take down the app and the social media giant agreed. The app will still be available on Android devices. In a statement, Apple pointed out that its updated developer guidelines is very specific about how developers can and cannot use the data from their apps.
“We work hard to protect user privacy and data throughout the Apple ecosystem,” a spokesman said.
Apple's new guidelines were created to ensure that user data is not abused, and the company has started the process of removing apps that aren’t in compliance with its updated rules. It has been estimated that mobile apps available for purchase or download through Apple’s App Store are expected to double in size and surpass 5 million by 2020. Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that developers have earned $100 billion through the App Store, and he also announced that there are 500 million weekly visitors to the App Store.
As for Facebook, it pointed out that it has “always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used,” a Facebook spokesman said. “As a developer on Apple’s platform, we follow the rules they’ve put in place.”