What is hiding behind Onavo Protect, the new VPN from Facebook? Image: Julia DeBoer

Facebook is rolling out a new feature called Protect to many of its users in the iOS application. Onavo Protect, which was the VPN (Virtual Private Network) acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has now been added to the update of the app in the Facebook iOS.

The feature can be seen in the navigation menu of the app under the name Protect, which redirects users to the App Store, with the purpose of getting the user to download Onavo Protect.

Facebook intends on making accounts and users feel safer by promoting the download of this app. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Facebook is marketing the app, and Onavo supposedly intends to warn users of malicious websites and keeping information secure.

What is Onavo and what does it do?

Onavo Protect is a VPN whose main goal is to protect the user from viruses, keeping their information safe as they browse through the web. It is run by an Israeli analytics company founded in 2010 by Roi Tiger and Guy Rosen.

The VPN offers analytics products for mobile apps which, in turn, predisposed from data through their consumer products which include Onavo Extend and Onavo Protect.

The VPN was acquired by Facebook in 2013 for an undisclosed sum. Since its acquisition, the service states that users agree to the collection of data surrounding “your use of websites, apps, and data”, which may be used to “improve Facebook products and services”.

What is Facebook truly using Onavo for?

According to TechCrunch, Facebook didn’t get Onavo just for the security upgrades it may bring to the app, but rather monitor activity across apps.

This makes the company be more aware of what’s currently trending, giving them a huge advantage in knowing what’s “in” and what’s not. It also allows Facebook to get a way-earlier heads up about new apps that are currently being frequented or are on the verge of becoming breakout hits.

This helps Facebook, and more noticeably it helped them in the current battle with Snapchat. The service also gives Facebook the opportunity to snatch up starter apps who are starting to get mild success and add them to their app.

That being said, it’s apparent that the massive downloads that Onavo is currently getting are due to the general public’s disinformation about the matter seeing as they probably think they’re downloading any other VPN when in reality, they’re feeding Facebook information the company can use to its advantage.

Just like it happened with Tbh, one of Facebook’s acquisitions that was gaining popularity, the company snatched it before it could become an individual massive sensation. According to TechCrunch, Facebook got this information due to the high number of downloads Onavo is currently getting.

Source: Business Insider