Facebook users sue Meta, accusing the business of monitoring them on iOS through a security flaw
Apple’s significant iOS privacy upgrade last year made it much more difficult for applications to follow user activity outside of their own boundaries, but a new complaint claims that Facebook and Instagram parent firm Meta continued to spy via a loophole.
The lawsuit, which is included below and filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that Meta circumvented Apple’s new limits by monitoring users using Facebook’s in-app browser, which opens links inside the app. The planned class-action lawsuit, originally reported by Bloomberg, might enable anybody harmed to join, which could include hundreds of millions of US users in Facebook’s case.
In the case, two Facebook users claim that Meta is not only abusing Apple’s regulations but also state and federal privacy laws, such as the Wiretap Act, which makes it unlawful to intercept electronic conversations without authorization. Last week, a similar suit (Mitchell v. Meta Platforms Inc.) was filed.
In April of last year, Apple released iOS 14.5, dealing a significant blow to social network firms like Meta that depended on monitoring users’ activity for advertising reasons. In its earnings calls, the firm notably mentioned the iOS changes as it prepared investors to adapt to the new normal for its ad targeting business, calling Apple’s privacy changes as a “headwind” that it would have to fight.
Apple’s new iOS privacy prompt asks users whether they want their activities recorded “across other firms’ applications and websites.” When accessing links inside Facebook or Instagram, users who opt out may fairly assume they are on an external web browser, but the corporation would undoubtedly argue the reverse.
Last month, security researcher Felix Krause raised concerns about Facebook and Instagram’s in-app browsers, and the lawsuit mainly relies on his findings. He advised Meta to redirect consumers to Safari or any alternative browser in order to narrow the gap.