‘Dedicated’ web browser for Facebook and Instagram apps can track you

In an app, links to an external website usually open the page in Safari’s web view. However, Meta has decided to dispense with this fairly basic functionality of the Facebook and Instagram apps. Instead of a Safari window, apps open external links in an internal browser, developed with WebKit (on this, Meta has no option) according to Discovery by Felix Krause.

The web browser built into the Facebook app is a “custom” browser. You can open the web page in the default browser by touching the “…” menu at the bottom left.

Nothing stands in the way of Meta developing a custom browser in its iOS apps, even if it requires a lot more work and resources than just using Safari. But as always with this evil company, there is a wolf: While browsing in this “custom” browser, the Instagram and Facebook apps can inject JavaScript code to track the user.

This part of the code is well known, it is called Meta Pixel and the Meta developer portal even dedicates a file page Describing how it works. MetaPixels” Tracks visitor activity on your website »:«Click »on an advertisement, a button, a link, a choice and a text entry (including the address, password for the account, bank card code …).

So be careful, just because Meta can do that doesn’t mean the company actually collects and uses all of this information on their behalf. Felix Krause cannot determine what data Meta collects: ” I wanted to show what kind of data the company might get without your knowledge Likewise, if you have not authorized ATT tracking In the Facebook and Instagram apps (via the popular tracking request window), Meta is unable to collect this information… except for online activity after opening a link in one of these apps.

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For a user who does not want to be tracked by Meta but has no choice but to use Instagram or Facebook, the URL can still be opened in the default browser (see images below) or simply use the mobile web version of these social networks (facebook.com where instagram.com in Safari). Apple can also somehow tighten the screw.

isolation mode An update for iOS 16It could have been a solution but it wasn’t designed for it, Apple responded when Felix published Radar about it.

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About the Author: Octávio Florencio

"Evangelista zumbi. Pensador. Criador ávido. Fanático pela internet premiado. Fanático incurável pela web."

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