Facebook is suing over allegations it bypassed Apple’s privacy protections to collect user data


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Two Facebook users are suing the social media platform’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., for allegedly circumventing Apple’s privacy protections and collecting user data through in-app browsers.

The proposed class action complaint, filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court, comes after an April 2021 Apple iOS update forced Meta to obtain users’ consent before tracking their Internet activity on third-party apps and websites.

The lawsuits accuse Meta of working around the update by tracking users’ online activity through Facebook’s in-app browser.

By directing users who click on a link in the Facebook app to an in-app browser instead of their smartphone’s default browser, Facebook can track their Internet activity and collect personal information, personal health data, text records, and other sensitive privacy facts , the lawsuits I say.

Users “are unaware of the tracking; most do not even realize they are viewing a third-party website from the Facebook in-app browser,” one lawsuit said. “Consequently, users freely engage with these sites, sharing all kinds of personal facts and preferences without having any reason to know they are being tracked.”

Meta spokesman Tom Chanick said the allegations are baseless and the company plans to defend itself “vigorously.”

“We’ve carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads,” Canik said in an emailed statement.

Since as of May 2021, about 94% of Apple users in the US did not consent to app tracking on their iPhones, Apple’s update limited a major source of revenue for Facebook.

Meta CFO Dave Wenner said earlier this year that the iOS update would cost the company an estimated $10 billion in 2022.

The lawsuits allege that Meta violates federal and state privacy laws and seek to end this tracking.

The findings build on a recent report by data privacy researcher Felix Krause, which found that Mata injects JavaScript code into third-party websites to track users and intercept data.

“This creates various risks for the user, as the host application is able to track every single interaction with external websites, from all input forms such as passwords and addresses, to every single touch,” Krause’s report said.

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