November 28, 2022

Meta is facing a proposed class action lawsuit that claims it developed a secret working method for Apple’s privacy rules on iOS, allowing it to collect personal data without consent.

Last year, Apple changed the rules for iOS app developers by forcing them to ask for user permission before allowing their apps to collect tracking data. So the Facebook app on iOS should ask permission from every user, but like Bloomberg Reports(Opens in a new window)This lawsuit (Willis v. Meta Platforms Inc., 22-cv-05376) accuses Meta of circumventing the rules and tracking a user regardless of their choice.

So how does this tracking work? The lawsuit explains how Facebook’s Meta app opens links in an in-app browser instead of the user’s default browser. By doing so, user activity can easily be tracked while getting around Apple’s apps privacy rules.

If this is indeed the case, it would technically violate Apple’s rules for users who chose not to be tracked, but this must be proven in court. The lawsuit also alleges that this behavior violates state and federal laws that limit the unauthorized collection of personal data. Meta has yet to comment publicly on the matter.

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Last August, researcher Felix Krause discovered that many apps were using in-app browsers to inject JavaScript into websites to allow users to be tracked. Both the Facebook and Instagram apps have been proven to inject JavaScript, with Meta stating in a comment that is part of the JavaScript code it uses, “Developed to respect people’s privacy and [App Tracking Transparency] choices.”

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