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Facebook is pushing its own Onavo VPN service within iOS app

Facebook users in the United States, and possibly elsewhere, are starting to see, or have been seeing for some time now a new Protect option in Facebook for iOS’s navigation menu, which redirects users to the Onavo VPN app on App Store.... Read the rest of this post here

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The thought of Facebook launching its own smart speakers is incredibly scary

Facebook Portal Smart Speaker

Amazon and Google are currently the major players in the smart speaker business, with the former being the undisputed king of this product category. Many other companies have similar products in stores, including devices that are powered by Amazon’s own voice tech.

Apple just launched the HomePod, it’s own competitor to Amazon’s Echos and Google’s Homes, arriving late to the smart speaker party — well, Apple sells the speaker primarily as a high-end speaker than a smart one.

Facebook, it turns out, will launch its own smart speakers later this year. And that’s an incredibly scary thought.

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The thought of Facebook launching its own smart speakers is incredibly scary originally appeared on on Thu, 15 Feb 2018 at 01:00:31 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Facebook Promoting its Onavo VPN in Facebook iOS App

Facebook has started promoting the Onavo VPN client it acquired back in 2013 directly within the Facebook app for iOS devices. A link to the Onavo VPN client is available in the Facebook app in the United States under a new "Protect" section of the Facebook navigation menu.

To get to it, tap on the hamburger menu in the right hand side of the app, and then scroll down. "Protect" features a blue icon with a shield, and when you tap on it, it links to the Onavo VPN app in the iOS App Store.

As TechCrunch points out, while Onavo offers to "keep your data safe while you browse" and let you know when you "visit potentially malicious or harmful websites," Facebook's real aim with Onavo is tracking user activity across multiple different apps to learn insights about how its customer base uses third-party apps.
But Facebook didn't buy Onavo for its security protections.

Instead, Onavo's VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps' new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more.
In August of last year, The Wall Street Journal took a look at how Facebook uses Onavo to track what people do on their smartphones outside of the Facebook ecosystem. Using Onavo data, for example, Facebook was able to determine that the Instagram Stories feature was impacting Snapchat's business well ahead of when Snap disclosed slowing user growth.

As The Wall Street Journal explains, whenever a person using Onavo opens an app or website, Onavo redirects the traffic to Facebook's servers and logs the action in a database, allowing Facebook to draw conclusions about app usage from aggregated data.

Onavo for iOS and Android has been installed on more than 33 million devices, according to Sensor Tower, with 62 percent of those installs on Android. TechCrunch speculates that Facebook may be promoting Onavo in the iOS app to encourage more iOS users to download the app.

Facebook is clear about Onavo's purpose, with a disclosure available on the App Store: "Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps, and data. Because we're part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences."

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Facebook and Apple Work Out Deal for Subscription News Purchases in iOS App

Facebook in October introduced a new feature designed to let publishers sell subscriptions to their news sites directly on Facebook, but the social network could not work out a deal with Apple, preventing the news subscription options from being available on Facebook for iOS.

At issue was Apple's demand for its standard 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue brought in through the Facebook iOS app, while Facebook wanted all money to go to publishers.

At today's Code Media event, Facebook executive Campbell Brown said the dispute with Apple had been resolved, which means the subscription service tool will launch on iOS devices on March 1.

Brown did not provide details on the deal that Facebook and Apple worked out, so it is not clear if Apple will be taking a standard 30 percent cut, a lower cut, or no cut at all.

Facebook's news service does not offer subscriptions purchased directly on Facebook, but instead redirects customers to sign up for a subscription on the publisher website once the article limit has been reached.

Publishers have asked Facebook to change the number of free articles Facebook users can view without a subscription from 10 to 5, a change Facebook will also implement starting on March 1.

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Abstract iPhone wallpapers created by Facebook’s design team

In a continued series of abstract, vivid color wallpapers for iPhone, I am excited to present a secret set of iPhone wallpapers, as designed by the Facebook UI team. Updated on December 12, 2017, Facebook created an iOS 11 GUI guide, including seven gorgeous iPhone wallpapers. We are excited to offer them to you today!... Read the rest of this post here

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