New lawsuits claim that Meta is illegally tracking the behavior of Facebook users.
Ars Technica reported on Thursday the plaintiffs’ claims that Meta actively “conceal[ed] privacy risks, circumventing iOS user privacy choices, and intercepting, monitoring, and recording all activity on third-party websites viewed in Facebook or Instagram’s browser.”
Both lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California.
On its website, Ars Technica posted the text of the first lawsuit, filed on September 15, 2022. This lawsuit claims Meta illegally tracks “all user interactions” by ignoring iOS users’ requests not to track behavior. Apple recently iOS users the ability to specifically ask certain apps not to track their behavior.
“[B]y running custom scripts on third-party websites, Meta can and does intercept, view, monitor, and record all user interactions—every button and link they tap, as well as text selections, screenshots, form inputs (including passwords, addresses, and payment card numbers), other personally identifiable information, protected health details, and other private and confidential communications and data,” the first complaint claims.
The second lawsuit, filed on September 21, 2022, and also listed on Ars Technica’s website, claims that users do not realize that Meta is overriding privacy settings without consent.
“Even users who may realize they are visiting websites from within Facebook’s in-app browser do not realize that this activity overrides their privacy settings and enables Meta to track, intercept, and monitor their activities on the websites as a consequence of Meta’s undisclosed injection of code,” the second lawsuit says.
The second lawsuit further claims that it is impossible for an average user without advanced knowledge about online privacy to discover this.
The complaints use evidence covered in a recent report by iOS privacy expert Felix Krause. Last month, Newsbusters reported that Krause’s report claims the amount of data being collected is “staggering.”
“With 1 Billion active Instagram users, the amount of data Instagram can collect by injecting the tracking code into every third party website opened from the Instagram & Facebook app is a staggering amount,” Krause wrote in the report.
Conversely, Meta says the allegations about Facebook and Instagram are false.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Meta spokesperson claimed that the allegations were “without merit” and added that the company would defend itself “vigorously.”
“We have carefully designed our in-app browser to respect users’ privacy choices, including how data may be used for ads,” the spokesperson said in the statement.
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