Facebook and Instagram apps can track users, even on iPhones

A new study reveals how these services’ internal browsers circumvent tracking transparency

By visiting a website on Facebook and Instagram, the web pages are opened in an internal browser: it seems that this is exactly what writes a javascript code on each site visited, allowing Meta to track visits. This is what researcher Felix Krause reveals in a new study. The research of him has focused on the iOS versions of Facebook and Instagram, this is because in theory the Apple system should allow through an option to be tracked in any way by the apps you are using. “The Instagram app enters a tracking code on each site shown, including when clicking on advertisements, in order to link all user interactions and monitor their online activity. It records any action, including keystrokes, entered text, typed passwords and credit card numbers, ”says Krause.

Krause argues that the procedure is not contrary to the tracking transparency policy imposed by Apple, because it is “limited” to recording the user’s actions. Nor is it obvious that Meta actually uses this data, which, however, cannot be obtained by browsing the browsers. According to the research, WhatsApp does not work the same way and does not modify third-party sites such as Instagram, even though it is still owned by Meta. The best solution to avoid any problems, according to the researcher, is to always use Chrome or Safari when browsing on smartphones.