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 websites didn’t sit well with some people. Bloomberg Users have reportedly filed two proposed class-action lawsuits accusing Meta of circumventing Apple’s privacy-focused App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature and consequently violating both federal and state laws prohibiting unauthorized data collection. Meta has allegedly created a workaround by injecting tracking code into websites when you use its in-app browser and letting it monitor activity regardless of whether you’ve given the app permission or not.

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

Meta denied the allegations in a statement to Engadget. The company said both lawsuits were “unfounded” and were “vigorously defending themselves.” It further claimed that its in-app browsers respect privacy choices, including for ads.

There is no certainty that the lawsuits will receive class action status, which could result in compensation for many users. Whether the lawsuits succeed or not, they illustrate the tensions between Meta, Apple, and privacy advocates — Meta is determined to keep up the targeted advertising that fuels its business, even as critics and rival companies raise further objections.

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