Meta Hits With 2 Class-Action Lawsuits Claiming It Circumvents Apple’s Privacy Protections

Meta Hits With 2 Class-Action Lawsuits Claiming It Circumvents Apple's


Meta faces two class action lawsuits after both Facebook and Instagram were found to track iPhone users, even after users denied permission to do so via Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature.

In recent iOS updates, iPhone users have been able to deny in-app tracking, which prevents an app from tracking their data. Apple’s decision sent shock waves across the tech industry, with Meta saying the decision alone cost them a lot of money. estimated $10 billion a year.

Last month, a researcher found it proof that Meta is embedded tracking code in any website displayed in the in-app browsers on Facebook and Instagram apps, even when users asked the app not to follow them. In extreme cases, this would allow Facebook and Instagram to track every interaction a user has in their browser, including password entries and credit card numbers.

“I don’t have a list of precise data that Instagram sends home,” Felix Krause, founder of fastlane, an open source app building tool, wrote in his report. “I do have evidence that the Instagram and Facebook app is actively executing JavaScript commands to inject an additional JS [software development kit code] without the user’s consent, as well as following the user’s text selections. If Instagram does this at all, they can also inject any other JS code.”

The lawsuits depend on these built-in browsers putting both Facebook and Instagram into their apps, which are used when a user taps a link, rather than directing them outside the app to something like Apple’s Safari browser.

Following the report, Meta faced two class action lawsuits this week. Both cases are filed in the Northern District of California and largely argue for the same concerns about the circumvention of Apple’s privacy efforts by Meta.

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Both call Meta’s “undisclosed tracking of citizens’ browsing activity and communications” a violation of federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws and claim that this illegal activity entitles plaintiffs and class members to damages.

“The user information that Meta intercepts, monitors and records includes personally identifiable information, personal health data, text input and other sensitive confidential facts,” Mitchell v Meta Platforms, Inc. said in his complaint.

The other, Willis et al v Meta Platforms, Inc., the Krause report quotes in the complaint.

“If a user were to access the same third-party website directly through their web browser, instead of Facebook’s in-app browser, the user’s browser would actively block Meta’s ability and prevent the user’s activity on the website.” intercept and monitor third parties,” the complaint said. “But Meta tracks the same activity if the user is active in their in-app browser.”

In a statement to the News All Day, a Meta spokesperson said the allegations were “baseless” and said the company “designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data can be used for advertising. “

Both lawsuits demand “the highest amount of $10,000 or $100 per day for each day of violation” for plaintiffs.