Instagram could monitor “everything you do on any website”


Apple’s Instagram and Facebook iOS apps feature built-in browsers that allow parent company Meta to track “every click” users make with external websites viewed using the software, users of both are warned.

Felix Krause, developer, privacy researcher and former Google engineer, conducted the study by examining iOS apps for the two social media sites.

According to researcher Felix Krause, this type of tracking exposes consumers to “different dangers”. It warns that through their in-app browsers, both iOS versions of the apps can “monitor every contact with external websites, from all form inputs like passwords and addresses to every click.”

With the introduction of iOS 14.5 in 2021 and the inclusion of a feature called App Tracking Transparency, Apple has addressed the privacy concerns of iOS users (ATT). The additional feature was designed for app developers to obtain user permission before tracking data produced by third-party apps that do not belong to them before doing so.

According to Krause, iOS apps Facebook and Instagram both use a hack to circumvent ATT regulations and track website activity in their built-in browsers. This is done using proprietary JavaScript code that is present in both apps’ built-in browsers. This means that Meta launches its own in-app browser when an iOS Facebook or Instagram user clicks on a link in a Facebook or Instagram post (or ad), allowing Meta to track what you do on others. websites you visit.

When opening a link from Instagram, Facebook or Messenger, Krause advises privacy-conscious users to “be sure to click the dots in the corner to open the page in Safari instead.” He notes that Safari already disables third-party cookies by default.

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