Meta is now facing a class-action lawsuit as Facebook users are suing the platform for in-app tracking on external websites.
United States users of Facebook are suing the platform’s parent company, Meta, for allegedly tracking them through an in-app browser on IOS devices, which conflict with Apple’s privacy policies.
According to TechCrunch, that code allows the company to monitor “every single interaction with external websites.”
The lawsuit claims Meta snooped on users “via a workaround.” This is in reference to Apple’s IOS 14.5 update, which introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT) to prevent third-party apps such as Facebook from tracking both user behaviour and browsing history.
According to the report, the proposed class-action lawsuit “could allow anyone affected to sign on, which in Facebook’s case could mean hundreds of millions of US users.”
A response came from a Meta spokesperson, who said the allegations are “without merit,” and the company will fight them in court.
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“We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We believe those restrictions from Apple are designed in a way to carve out browsers from the tracking Apple requires for apps. So what that means is that search ads could have access to far more third party data, for measurement and optimization purposes, than app-based ad platforms like ours,” according to Meta.
This isn’t the first time Facebook or Meta have been accused of misusing users’ data. Recently, Meta handed over Facebook Messenger data between a 17-year-old and her mother to the Nebraska police to incriminate the 17-year-old for having an abortion. Although, in this case, Meta’s culpability is not in question, they did hand over the data.
A 17-year-old and her mother are facing criminal charges from the state of Nebraska after police obtained messages between the two by using a search warrant to collect the data from Facebook. The teenager, whose name is being omitted for anonymity, will be tried as an adult along with her mother, the two are awaiting trial in Madison County District Court.
This is one of the first instances Facebook activity has been used to incriminate someone having an abortion in a state with extreme restrictions on access to abortion since the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Nebraska currently outlaws the medical procedure beyond 20 weeks of gestation.