A growing gap between Facebook and Apple over privacy has become even greater after Facebook's virtual private network app Onavo was removed from the App Store for failing to comply with privacy guidelines in the App Store. The removal on Wednesday (US times) was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Although Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, is an outspoken critic of Facebook's privacy philosophy, this is the first time Apple has taken such action against a Facebook app.
Onavo, an app designed to divert web traffic to hide someone's true location, also sent some information back to Facebook to reveal more about people's habits, according to the social network. The app can reveal which apps people use and how often people use them; information that Facebook used to study the popularity of apps. The company used the data on Onavo's consumer behavior to analyze whether WhatsApp should be purchased, according to two people familiar with the issue.
Facebook in a statement said it was transparent about how Onavo processes data. "We have always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that has been collected and how it is used. As a developer on the Apple platform, we follow the rules they have set."
Facebook declined to comment on whether the app, purchased in 2013 for $ US150 million ($ 207 million), should be updated and resubmitted to Apple.