Meta accused of circumventing Apple’s limits on sharing personal data

Meta is the subject of new legal proceedings in the United States: according to a complaint filed Wednesday, September 21 before the federal court in San Francisco, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram is accused of having secretly set up tools to circumvent Apple’s ban on sharing the identity and interests of its users with partners. Since April 2021, publishers of applications for iPhones must, in fact, request the authorization of each user before communicating their unique advertising identifier to other services or companies.

Read also Apple refines ad tracking blocking on iPhone and iPad

This complaint is based on research by Felix Krause, a security consultant linked to Google. In an article published in August, the researcher notes the role played by the Internet browser specific to Facebook and Instagram applications, which opens instead of the usual browser – such as Safari or Chrome, for example – when the user click on a link directly in their feed. This in-app browser injects a small piece of computer code into each of the websites visited, as confirmed by Meta to the researcher.

According to him, this piece of code acts as a tracker and could theoretically allow Facebook and Instagram to track the identity of users from one site to another and record each of their clicks on these sites. Facebook and Instagram are, according to him, not the only social networks to resort to such injections of code: TikTok would also do so.

Insane Meta

The complaint filed Wednesday accuses Meta less cautiously than Felix Krause, not bothering with the conditional, and ensuring that the American group has violated Apple’s rules. A spokesperson for Meta told the Bloomberg news agency that the allegations were ” unfounded “ and that the company was going to defend itself against it “vigorously”.

At the beginning of 2022, the American group said that Apple’s new measures could lead to a drop of 10 billion dollars (10.2 billion euros) in its advertising revenue. In 2021, Meta had launched a communication campaign against the apple firm, arguing that these new restrictions would harm small businesses by preventing them from making their products known to consumers.

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