The major privacy update to iOS made by iPhone maker, Apple in 2021 was fashioned in such a way as to make it hard for apps to track user behaviour beyond their own borders but there appears to be a new litigation accusing Meta of snooping via a workaround.
Meta, the parent company for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook was accused in a complaint filed in the United District Court for the Northern District of California of evading the new restrictions by Apply by monitoring users with the in-app browser of Facebook that opens links within the app. First reported by Bloomberg, the class-action lawsuit has the propensity to allow all affected to sign up, and in the case of Facebook, might indicate hundreds of millions of users in the United States.
A group of Facebook users in the lawsuit accused Meta of not just violating the privacy policies of Apple, but they are breaking privacy laws at the state and federal level, and this included the Wiretap Act, a legislation that made it illegal to without consent intercept electronic communications. Just last week, a similar complaint was also filed by Mitchell coy against Meta.
The online activity and communications with external third-party websites are allegedly being tracked by Meta, even without their consent. The act is perfected in such a way that when users click on a link on a Facebook app, they are automatically directed into the Facebook’s in-app browser it is monitoring, rather than the default browser of the users smartphone, and this is done without the user being told it is happening or that they are being tracked.
Apple had in April 2021 launched the iOS 14.5, effectively curtailing social media companies like Meta who relies on tracking users’ behaviour for the advertising purposes. Meta had in its earning calls bemoaned the iOS changes; even as it prepped investors adjust to the changes in the ad targeting business, while it described the privacy changes by Apple as a “headwind” that it would need to overcome.
A meta spokesman in an email statement to TechCrunch averred that the allegations were “without merit” and that the company would defend itself “vigorously.”
“We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads,” said the spokesperson.