Meta Sued For Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple’s Privacy Features

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Meta Sued For Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Meta is facing a new class action lawsuit filed that accuses it of tracking and collecting personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies created by Apple that are meant to stop the same type of tracking.


In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of the user’s keystrokes, keyboard input, and more, while using the in-app browser. When a user clicks a link on Instagram, for example, Meta can monitor their interactions, text choices, and even text input, such as passwords and personal credit card details within that website.

This user tracking practice is a direct violation of Apple’s Application Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, which requires apps to seek user consent before tracking them across apps and websites owned by other companies.

Filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court, the new lawsuit accuses Meta of these violations, as reported by Bloomberg Law. The proposed class action lawsuit accuses Meta of violating Apple’s ATT framework and state and federal laws by collecting user data without user consent within its Facebook and Instagram apps.

In most apps on iPhone‌, developers use Apple’s Safari to open links within their apps. Meta, however, has developed a custom-built in-app browser based on Apple’s WebKit framework for Instagram and Facebook. Meta Browser allows it to insert a tracking JavaScript code named “Meta Pixel” into all displayed links and websites.

The lawsuit accuses Meta of using in-app browsers on Facebook and Instagram as a way to circumvent rules imposed by Apple to prevent unwanted user tracking. “This allows Meta to intercept, monitor and record its user interactions and communications with third parties, providing data to Meta that is collected, analyzed, and used to increase its advertising revenue,” the lawsuit said, according to Bloomberg Law.

Since its introduction in June 2021, Meta has been a vocal opponent of Apple’s ATT policy, claiming it will hurt small businesses that rely on personalized advertising.

Meta claims in a full-page newspaper ad that Apple is undermining small businesses’ ability to grow, because if users opt out of tracking, they’re less likely to see personalized ads recommended to them. Apple’s ATT framework has had an impact on the Meta business as it is expected to lose $10 billion in revenue this year alone.

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