Meta found a way to track iPhones — and is being sued for it
Apple has created a feature to prevent apps from tracking users without their consent. As you can imagine, Meta didn’t like this one bit — it’s estimated that it lost $10 billion in doing so.
A researcher found that the company found a way to continue tracking. Now, it’s the users who didn’t like it — and sued the companies behind Facebook and Instagram.
Three Facebook and iOS users have filed two class actions against Meta in US courts.
They accuse the company of circumventing the mobile system’s privacy options and intercepting, monitoring, and recording activity on third-party websites.
This would give her, according to the indictment, identifiable information, private health details, typed texts, and other confidential and sensitive data.
“Using an app doesn’t give a company permission to watch which links you click,” says Adam Polk, a lawyer representing two Facebook users. He adds that the action seeks to hold the company accountable.
Meta stated that the allegations are without merit and that the company will vigorously defend itself. The company claims to respect users’ privacy choices.
Meta monitors websites open in your apps
The indictment comes on the heels of a discovery made by cybersecurity researcher Felix Krause, who previously worked at Google.
Krause noticed that Facebook and Instagram’s built-in browser inject code into every page loaded within them.
This may allow Meta to monitor everything users do on these sites. The researcher, however, was unable to decipher what the apps actually sent to the company’s servers.
In response, Meta said it is not doing anything without users’ consent. The code would serve to aggregate user data and use it for ad targeting or metrics, but it would only do that according to what the user opted in.
Facebook blames Apple for poor financial results
Much of Meta’s business involves correctly targeting ads, that is, showing the right ads to the right people. To do this, it tracks what users do, as a way of understanding their preferences and interests.
Apple, in iOS 14.5, implemented App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Since then, developers are required to ask for explicit user consent to monitor their activities in other apps. As you can imagine, most refuse this type of practice — more than 60%, according to Apple.
This is a problem for Meta, which lacks a way to accurately deliver ads. The company blamed the iPhone maker for its first revenue drop in 10 years , attributing it to a $10 billion loss in the quarter.