Meta Sued for Tracking iOS Users Even If They’ve Opted Out

Meta is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit that claims it developed a secret workaround for Apple’s privacy rules on iOS that allow it to collect personal data without consent.

Last year, Apple changed the rules for iOS app developers, forcing them to ask users for permission before allowing their apps to collect tracking data.Therefore, the Facebook app on iOS must request permission from each user, but as Bloomberg reports(opens in new window)the lawsuit (Willis v. Meta Platforms Inc., 22-cv-05376) accuses Meta of circumventing the rules and tracking users regardless of their choices.

So how does this tracking work? The lawsuit explains how Meta’s Facebook app opened links in the in-app browser instead of the user’s default browser. By doing so, it’s easy to track user activity while bypassing Apple’s app privacy rules.

If that were the case, it would technically violate Apple’s rules for users who opt out of tracking, but that would need to be proven in court. The lawsuit also alleges that such conduct violates state and federal laws that restrict unauthorized collection of personal data. Meta has not commented publicly on the matter.

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Back in August, researcher Felix Krause discovered that multiple apps were using in-app browsers to inject JavaScript into websites in order to track users. Both the Facebook and Instagram apps have been shown to inject JavaScript, with Meta noting in a comment that it uses a portion of the JavaScript code, “developed to respect people’s privacy and [App Tracking Transparency] choose. “

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