Meta sued for allegedly dodging Apple’s privacy rules

Felix Krause’s discovery that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram apps can track iPhone owners across different websites didn’t go down well with some people. Bloomberg reports that users have filed two proposed class action lawsuits accusing Meta of evading Apple’s privacy-focused App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature and thus violating both federal and state laws that prohibit unauthorized data collection. Meta is said to have created a workaround by injecting tracking code into websites when you use the in-app browser, allowing it to track activity regardless of whether you have given permission for the app.

Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency as part of the iOS 14.5 update released in April 2021. The technology allows you to ask apps not to track you and requires you to sign in explicitly. Meta has spoken out in his opposition. It encouraged users to allow tracking and warned that ATT could cost it $10 billion in ad revenue this year.

Meta dismissed the allegations in a statement to Engadget. The company said both lawsuits were “without merit” and that it would “firmly defend itself”. It further claimed that its in-app browsers respect privacy decisions, including for advertising.

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It is not certain that the lawsuits will achieve class action status, which could lead to damages for many users. Whether or not the lawsuits succeed, they illustrate the tension between Meta, Apple and privacy advocates — Meta is determined to maintain the targeted advertising that fuels her business, even as critics and rival companies raise more objections.

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