Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features
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Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple’s Privacy Features

A new proposed class action lawsuit against Meta alleges that it tracked and collected personal information from iPhone users despite Apple features and regulations designed to prevent that kind of tracking.

It was discovered in August that when a user uses the in-app browser in the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can monitor all key presses, keyboard inputs, and more. For instance, when a person clicks a link on Instagram, Meta can watch their activities, text choices, and even text input—like passwords and confidential credit card information—on that website.

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features
Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple’s Privacy Features

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, which mandates that apps obtain users’ consent before tracking them across apps and websites controlled by other businesses, is being directly violated by this method of user tracking.

According to Bloomberg Law, Meta is being sued for this alleged breach in a new case that was filed on Wednesday in San Francisco federal court. The proposed class action complaint accuses Meta of breaking the ATT framework of Apple, as well as local, state, and federal laws, by collecting user data through its Facebook and Instagram apps without user authorization.

The majority of iPhone apps use Apple’s Safari to open links inside of them. For Instagram and Facebook, however, Meta has created a unique in-app browser based on Apple’s WebKit framework. The “Meta Pixel” tracking JavaScript code can be injected by Meta’s browser into all links and webpages displayed.

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According to the lawsuit, Meta used Facebook and Instagram’s in-app browser to get around restrictions put in place by Apple to stop unauthorized user tracking. This, according to the lawsuit, “allows Meta to intercept, monitor, and record its users’ interactions and communications with third parties, supplying Meta with data that it compiles, analyzes, and uses to increase its advertising revenue.”

Since its launch in June 2021, Meta has been an outspoken critic of Apple’s ATT policy, arguing that it will harm SMEs that depend on targeted advertising.

In a full-page newspaper advertisement, Meta alleged that Apple was hindering the expansion of small businesses because users who choose not to participate in monitoring are less likely to view advertisements that are tailored and recommended for them. Because of Apple’s ATT architecture, Meta’s business is estimated to experience a $10 billion revenue loss this year alone.

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