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Facebook users sue Meta, accusing the company of tracking on iOS through a loophole • TechCrunch


Apple Big privacy update for iOS Last year made it much harder for apps to track user behavior than their own borders, but a new lawsuit alleges that Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has repeatedly snooped on a solution.

The complaint, filed in California’s Northern District Court and attached below, alleges that Meta evaded Apple’s new restrictions by monitoring users through Facebook’s in-app browser. , open the link in the app. The proposed class action, first reported by Bloombergcould allow anyone affected to log in, which in Facebook’s case could mean hundreds of millions of US users.

In the lawsuit, a pair of Facebook users allege that Meta not only violated Apple policies, but also violated privacy laws at the state and federal levels, including Eavesdropping Act, making it illegal to intercept electronic communications without consent. Another similar complaint (Mitchell v. Meta Platforms Inc.) was filed last week.

The plaintiffs allege that Meta tracks users’ online activity by injecting them into Facebook’s built-in web browser and injecting JavaScript into the websites they visit. That code makes it possible for the company to track “every single interaction with external websites,” including where they tap, passwords, and other text they enter:

Now, even if users don’t consent to being tracked, Meta tracks Facebook users’ online activity and communication with external third-party websites by injecting JavaScript code into those sites. When a user clicks on a link in the Facebook app, Meta automatically redirects them to the in-app browser it’s tracking instead of the smartphone’s default browser, without letting the user know that this is the case. this is happening or they are being watched.

Apple introduced iOS 14.5 last April, impressed big blow arrive social media companies like Meta relies on tracking user behavior for advertising purposes. The company cited iOS-specific changes in earnings calls as it prepares investors to adjust to the new normal for its ad-targeting business, describing the Apple’s privacy change is like a “headwind” that they need to overcome.

In the new iOS privacy prompt, Apple asks if users agree to have their activity tracked “on other companies’ apps and websites”. Users who opt-out can reasonably believe they are using an external web browser when opening links in Facebook or Instagram, although the company would likely argue otherwise.

Security researcher Felix Krause raised concerns around Facebook and Instagram’s in-app browsers last month and the lawsuit draws heavily from his reporting. He urged Meta to send users to Safari or another external browser to address the vulnerability.

Krause writes in a blog post: “Do what Meta is doing with WhatsApp: Stop modifying third-party sites and use Safari or SFSafariViewController for all third-party sites. “It’s the best thing for the user and the right thing to do.”



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