Meta Sued Following Allegations it has a Workaround for Apple Privacy Protections

“These allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” Facebook said in a statement.

A proposed class-action complaint filed in San Francisco federal court alleges that Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta Platforms Inc. built a workaround to dodge Apple’s privacy safeguards launched last year to protect iPhone users from having their internet activity tracked.

Bloomberg reports that two Facebook users in the suit say that by skirting Apple’s 2021 privacy rules Meta is in violation of state and federal laws that limit the unauthorized collection of personal data. A similar complaint was filed in the same court last week.

If true, it would be in direct violation of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy requiring all apps to ask for user consent before tracking them across apps and websites.

 
 

Both lawsuits are based on the findings of security researcher and former Google engineer Felix Krause, who issued a report in August saying that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram apps for Apple’s iOS inject JavaScript code onto websites visited by users, and that the code “causes various risks for the user, with the host app being able to track every single interaction with external websites, from all form inputs like passwords and addresses to every single tap.”

“The Instagram app injects their JavaScript code into every website shown, including when clicking on ads,” Krause wrote on his website. “Even though the injected script doesn’t currently do this, running custom scripts on third-party websites allows them to monitor all user interactions, like every button & link tapped, text selections, screenshots, as well as any form inputs, like passwords, addresses, and credit card numbers.”

In the same post, Krause offered advice to avoid being tracked writing: “Summary: Whenever you open a link from Instagram (or Facebook or Messenger), make sure to click the dots in the corner to open the page in Safari instead.”

 
 

Facebook issued a statement in response to the charges saying: “These allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously. We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads.”

Following the announcement of Apple’s stricter privacy policies rolled out in 2021, Meta said that it expected to miss out on $10 billion in ad revenue in 2022 due to Apple’s changes.

The Staff

The Staff

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