Facebook users are suing Meta for tracking them through a loophole on iOS

AlphaX

Posts: 27   +8
Staff
In context: Last year, Apple released a security update that restricted third-party apps from attempting to track user data and behavior. While most apps adhered to the restrictions, Meta reportedly circumvented the boundaries with Facebook, allegedly tracking users well beyond what Apple allows.

Despite being past its prime, Facebook remains one of the most downloaded programs on the App Store. Apptopia stats show that users downloaded the Facebook app over 416 million times across all devices in 2021. While it may not match TikTok's astounding 656 million downloads, Facebook's numbers are still outstanding for a website that began in 2004.

Because of the large number of downloads, there is a greater emphasis on security for millions of people. If any company knows a thing or two about user privacy, it's Apple. Apple has always prioritized protecting users and their data, especially proven by a landscape-altering privacy update that the company released in 2021.

One notable change in this privacy movement was allowing users to opt out of having their activities tracked across apps. This policy was a massive blow to companies like Meta, which used customer data for targeted advertising. Meta stands to lose an estimated $12.8 billion in 2022 from these changes alone, according to Lotame.

So Meta decided to look for a loophole, hoping to find a way to retrieve user info once again. The solution it came up with was to open an integrated browser directly in the app instead of using Safari whenever users clicked links. The company believed this would bypass Apple's tight privacy restrictions and allow it to track as it pleased.

A pair of Facebook users have recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Meta for using this loophole. The lawsuit contends that Meta's integrated browser injects JavaScript code into any site they visit within the browser. The plaintiffs believe this circumvention violates Apple's privacy rules. Worse yet, the suit claims the workaround might violate state and federal laws, including the Wiretap Act.

This code injection allows Meta to track "every single interaction within external sites," including tap locations and any text the user types, including passwords. Since users don't explicitly consent to the integrated browser's data tracking, this becomes a significant privacy concern.

A Meta spokesperson said the allegations were "without merit" and stated, "We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users' privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads."

We covered a similar issue last month involving TikTok doing the same thing. Like TikTok, Meta has come up with an excuse that doesn't absolve them of wrongdoing.

Felix Krause, an online security researcher, has released reports about other apps doing this in the past, including Facebook. He insists that Meta should send people to Safari or another external browser to close the loophole to avoid possible repercussions.

Permalink to story.

 

Dsirius

Posts: 250   +469
Meta is the most aggressive and worst regarding stealing users data. If anybody thought that Cambridge Analytica scandal stopped Facebook or at least FTC and Congress fined and made them playing fair, no chance, this Meta-Faceboock corporation is rotten to the core and doomed, no chance to reinvent itself.
And for those who want to completely stop facebook to track, spy and steal your data check this and read user named ghost comment
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 1,172   +812
Ok, so people who are already silly enough to buy Apple and use Facebook are complaining because they failed to use their brain and installed the Facebook app?

Ladies & Gentlemen(and everyone else), read the following directions carefully:

1. Open your favorite web browser.

2. Navigate to Facebook.com.

3. Login.

THIS is how you properly use Facebook or ANY other social media platform. If a service doesn't fully support web logins, DON'T USE IT!!

Taadaa! Now you are much more safe from the kind of nonsense detailed in this article.
 

human7

Posts: 71   +48
The problem for Meta is they make all their money from tracking and so have every incentive to do so.

The problem for Apple is that their pro-privacy move is suspect: they're building their own advertising platform and the move is viewed by some as anti-competitive.

The problem for the rest of us is that these companies don't truly have our own interests at heart.
 

trieste1s

Posts: 77   +106
TechSpot Elite
The problem for Meta is they make all their money from tracking and so have every incentive to do so.

The problem for Apple is that their pro-privacy move is suspect: they're building their own advertising platform and the move is viewed by some as anti-competitive.

The problem for the rest of us is that these companies don't truly have our own interests at heart.
The problem with us is that we continue to use and support the products of these companies.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,612   +3,199
TechSpot Elite
Of course Meta's going to deny it, but if there's no merit behind the claims, where did the claims come from? This is not an easy thing to discover which means that the one who did discover it had to be some kind of tech expert in this area. To me, that gives it credibility.

I'm so glad that I know better than to own Apple products. Apple's every bit as sketchy as Suckerberg.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,172   +812
I'm so glad that I know better than to own Apple products.
Agreed. However...
Apple's every bit as sketchy as Suckerberg.
... I wouldn't go that far. For all of Apples intolerable faults, failing to actively protect the privacy and security of their user base isn't one of them. This nonsense with facebook's app has Apple just as much off balance as the users who engaged in this lawsuit.