Back in November 2019, Paypal acquired Honey, a browser extension from Amazon for a whopping $4 billion. And just weeks after the company was purchased, Amazon started warning its users encouraging them to stop using the Honey browser extension. Since December, Amazon has started sending pop-up messages on its webpage to its consumers, warning about the security and privacy threat that the extension possesses. According to Amazon, the Honey browser extension collects users’ data and tracks their shopping behavior.
Ryan Hutchins, the editor of Politico first noticed the warnings and shared the message on his twitter. And it seems like more than the consumers’ concern, the security warning is a business strategy from Amazon’s end.
Amazon is telling shoppers that the browser extension Honey — it gives you coupon codes and other ways to save — is malware.
Paypal bought Honey in November for $4 billion. That’s one extensive piece of Malware. pic.twitter.com/Di6I8RAX2X
— Ryan Hutchins (@ryanhutchins) December 20, 2019
Honey is a browser extension that has been accordant to Amazon for many-a-year. Amazon users prefer Honey browser extensions because of their easy services. What Honey does is, it scours the internet to find suitable codes and coupons for customers to use while shopping. And the customers won’t have to put in the codes as Honey automatically applies the codes for them. Also, Honey also keeps track of the fluctuating prices of all the items and makes it easy for the consumers to shop online.
But now that Paypal, a rival company owns Honey, Amazon’s position as a leading e-commerce site is jeopardized. Both the companies are fierce competitors, especially as online payment processors. So, right after selling the company, it’s suspicious for Amazon to make such claims. Yet, Amazon declines to comment any further on this situation.
However, Honey declines that they misuse consumers’ data. It’s obvious that as an extension browser, Honey collects consumers’ data. However, it uses them for their own services only, like figuring out the coupon codes. They don’t track users’ browsing data, search engine history, or emails. And they have users’ consent as all the terms and conditions are present in their Privacy and Security policy.
Honey did have a slight inconvenience in the past year after a cybersecurity firm found that the browser did expose user information. But the company fixed the issue immediately. However, after Amazon’s accusations, it’s hard to say where the company stands when it comes to users’ privacy.
Be that as it may, on Honey’s defense, every browser extension uses users’ data in one way or another. It’s only threatening if they misuse the collected data and sell consumers’ private information to other companies. And since Honey states that it doesn’t use consumers’ data illicitly, it isn’t really harming anyone.