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Facebook users sue Meta for snooping on iOS through workaround

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Facebook users sue Meta for snooping on iOS through workaround
24 Sep 2022

Another day, another lawsuit against a tech giant for alleged snooping. This time, it's Meta who is the culprit. And the allegation? Tracking Facebook users on iOS devices despite Apple's strict privacy policies in place. The class-action lawsuit in a Californian court is filed by a couple of Facebook users. The nature of the suit implies that millions of aggrieved parties can sign on.


Why does this story matter?

The new lawsuit against Meta for snooping on iOS users "through a workaround" could be the beginning of the next chapter of Apple v/s the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company. The allegations leveled against the social media giant are of serious nature. If found true, they could open floodgates that the company would rather keep closed. Meta is clearly not having a great time these days.

Users allege that Meta tracks activity using Facebook's in-app browser

A couple of Facebook users allege that Meta flouted Apple's privacy restrictions through Facebook's in-app browser. They say that Meta snoops on users' online activity by sending links on the app. When users click that link, they are automatically taken to the in-app browser. According to them, the company then injects JavaScript into the sites they visit, allowing it to track every external interaction.

Complainants accuse Meta of violating state and federal privacy laws

The complaint is filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The complainants accuse Meta of violating Apple's privacy policy and privacy laws at the state and federal levels, including the Wiretap Act. The Act makes it illegal to intercept electronic communications without consent. Last week, a similar lawsuit was filed against Meta (Mitchell v. Meta Platforms Inc.).

How does Apple's privacy policy stop snooping?
New policy

Last year, Apple introduced the pro-privacy iOS 14.5. This update proved to be a huge blow to social media companies that track user behavior for advertising purposes. The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature of the update stopped third-party apps from tracking user behavior and browsing history. Meta has said that Apple's policy change will cost the company $10 billion in 2022.

What did Meta say about the lawsuit?

Meta responded strongly to the snooping allegations. A spokesperson of the company told TechCrunch that the allegations are "without merit" and that the company would defend itself "vigorously." The spokesperson also defended Facebook's in-app browser.

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