iOS’s Facebook and Instagram Apps Can Monitor User Interactions

A new report from an iOS privacy expert said the system’s Facebook and Instagram apps can track a user’s interaction with external websites.

Felix Krause, an iOS privacy expert, wrote last week that the apps can monitor a user’s interactions with external websites without user consent.

Krause is the founder of fastlane, “an open source tool for iOS and Android developers focussed on making building and releasing apps easier.” 

He said that the amount of data the apps could collect is “staggering.”

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“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,” he wrote.

He noted that iOS users of the apps can take steps to protect themselves from potential tracking.

“Whenever you open a link from Instagram (or Facebook or Messenger), make sure to click the dots in the corner to open the page in Safari instead,” he wrote.

Kraus said his project’s intention was to show users how the apps are exploiting in-app search engines.

“Overall the goal of this project wasn’t to get a list of data that is sent back, but to highlight the privacy & security issues that are caused by the use of in-app browsers, as well as to prove that apps like Instagram are already exploiting this loophole,” he added.

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