Author: Thom Holwerda
Hindenburg alleged that when the Opera browser continued losing users (due to competition from Google and Apple), the company shifted gears to building mobile apps that provided predatory short-term loans. The interest rates on those loans ranged from 365-876% per year, and loan terms from 7-29 days. Opera also falsely advertised longer loan terms and lower interest rates in the app descriptions, because the Google Play Store had rules against predatory loan services. The loan apps specifically targeted customers in Kenya, India, and Nigeria. Hindenburg also confirmed through user reports and a former employee that two of the apps, OKash and OPesa, asked for permission to the phone contacts during the setup process. The service would then start sending threatening messages to the user’s contacts when a borrower was late on their payments. The issue was also covered by local media prior to Hindenburg’s report. The money from these loan apps amounted to 42.5% of Opera’s revenue by mid-2019. Yes, almost half of Opera’s revenue came from extracting money from people in developing countries with false advertising and direct harassment. ↫ Corbin Davenport As if this wasn’t horrible enough, Opera also pushed the usual crypto and NFT scams, and is now chasing that “AI” high by adding spicy autocomplete to its Chromium skin. Much like Brave – good people don’t let friends use Brave – Opera is just a veneer around shady business practices, and you just shouldn’t use this garbage. Just use Firefox.