Facebook Research App Obtained Sensitive Data From 187k Users Prior To Its Ban

Apple banned Facebook app Facebook Research early in 2019. In a letter from a TechCrunch report, it has been found to have collected data from more than 180,000 users.

Last year, Facebook marketed Onavo as a free VPN service that gave users ‘extra security and peace of mind’, but there was data collected, which the company used to improve its products and services.


Apple then asked Facebook to remove the app due to protection and privacy reasons, to which Facebook complied. It was rebranded as Facebook Research, and promised to pay users to have the app installed. Individuals had to sideload it via TestFlight, install Enterprise Developer Certificate and a VPN to make the app work and give the app complete access to all phone actions.

Facebook reasoned that the Research app gave full disclosure to users and that they could choose to agree with the arrangement or refuse it. The 187,000 users affected by the data breach included 31,000 US phones and more than 4,000 teenagers, while the rest came from India.