PayPal paid $4 billion for Honey in December — the largest acquisition in the payment company’s history. The Los Angeles-based start-up was founded in 2012, and lets 17 million of its users find coupons while shopping online. It works through a browser extension known as a “plug-in” that automatically searches for discounts as customers shop on sites like Amazon, making a commission off each sale.
Amazon clearly isn’t fond of the app – the service message on company’s website says that “Honey tracks your private shopping behaviour, collects data like your order history and items saved, and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit” and has urged users to “uninstall this extension immediately.”
Amazon is telling shoppers that the browser extension Honey — it gives you coupon codes and other ways to save — is malware.— Ryan Hutchins (@ryanhutchins) December 20, 2019
Paypal bought Honey in November for $4 billion. That’s one extensive piece of Malware. pic.twitter.com/Di6I8RAX2X
PayPal and Amazon have a long-time history of tense relations. PayPal was once a part of Amazon competitor eBay, and Amazon does not accept PayPal as an option in check-out. However, Honey’s plug-in has been compatible with Amazon since it hit the market roughly seven years ago and became a “security concern” only after the acquisition by PayPal.
“Our goal is to warn customers about browser extensions that collect personal shopping data without their knowledge or consent, such as customer name, shipping and/or billing address and payment method from the checkout page,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.
A spokesperson for Honey said the extension “is not — and has never been — a security risk and is safe to use.”
“We only use data in ways that directly benefit Honey members — helping people save money and time — and in ways they would expect. Our commitment is clearly spelled out in our privacy and security policy.”
The company said it collects “limited shopping data” to analyze information on retail websites so users can find the best coupon, but does ″not sell your personal information. Ever.”