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Facebook users are suing Meta for tracking them through a loophole on iOS




In the context of: Last year, Apple released a security update that prevents third-party apps from trying to track user data and behavior. While most apps have adhered to the restrictions, Meta has reportedly circumvented the border with Facebook, allegedly tracking users beyond what Apple allows.

Despite being overtaken by its prestige, Facebook remains one of the most downloaded software on the App Store. Apptopia stats show that users downloaded the Facebook app more than 416 million times across all devices in 2021. Although it may not match TikTok’s staggering 656 million downloads, Facebook’s numbers are still outstanding for a website that started in year 2004.

Due to the large number of downloads, there is a greater focus on security for millions of people. If any company knows a thing or two about user privacy, it’s Apple. Apple has always prioritized protecting users and their data, and this was particularly proven by the landscape-changing privacy update that the company released in 2021.

One notable change in this privacy movement was allowing users to opt out of having their activities tracked across apps. This policy was a huge blow to companies like Meta, which used customer data for targeted advertising. According to Lotame, Meta will likely lose an estimated $12.8 billion in 2022 from these changes alone.

So Meta decided to search for a vulnerability, hoping to find a way to retrieve user information back. The solution he came up with was to open an integrated browser directly into the app instead of using Safari when users click on links. The company believed that this would bypass Apple’s strict privacy restrictions and allow it to track as it pleased.


A couple of Facebook users recently filed a class action lawsuit against Meta for using this vulnerability. The lawsuit asserts that the built-in Meta browser injects JavaScript code into any site it visits within the browser. Prosecutors believe this circumvention violates Apple’s privacy rules. Even worse, the lawsuit claims that the workaround may violate state and federal laws, including the wiretapping law.

This code injection allows Meta to track “every individual interaction within external sites”, including click-through locations and any text a user types, including passwords. Since users do not explicitly consent to the integrated browser’s data tracking, this becomes a major privacy concern.

A Meta spokesperson said the allegations were “baseless” and stated, “We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data is used for ads.”

We covered a similar issue last month involving TikTok doing the same thing. Like TikTok, Meta has come up with an excuse that doesn’t excuse them from wrongdoing.

Felix Krause, an online security researcher, has released reports about other apps that have been doing this in the past, including Facebook. He insists that Meta should send people to Safari or another third-party browser to plug the loophole to avoid potential repercussions.


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