Instagram’s Built-In Browser May Track User Behavior and Private Data

  • Greg Burn
  • 22 Aug, 2022
Instagram’s Built-In Browser May Track User Behavior and Private Data

Meta is all about security now, at least, so it seems as you look at its effort to implement encryption, protection, and self-destructing messages. Yet we can never be sure about security, and the new vulnerable spot turned out to be the built-in Instagram browser. According to fresh research, it’s capable of tracking users’ activity.

The report that covers the issue emphasizes that the browser of Instagram is able to track anything you do with it. This includes the sites you visit, the passwords and search requests you enter, the ads you click, etc. And it doesn’t take a third-party villain to make it a serious concern: Meta itself qualifies as a candidate.

The method the browser uses is simple and effective. As noticed by Felix Krause, the owner of an open source platform Fastlane, the browser has a special JavaScript code that it injects into the code of the websites it opens. With this code, it can monitor users’ activity on these sites and share it without users’ consent.

This doesn’t happen in other browsers since Apple has already started blocking third-party cookies in Safari, and Google is about to do the same in Chrome. Mozilla has stepped up with a similar initiative recently, so Firefox will also become much safer. As for Meta, it has never been famous as a browser developer, although, as we see, it is one. After the post by Krause appears, Meta released a statement that this code was not the Meta Pixel, the snippet officially used for aggregating online events for further use, e.g. in targeted advertising and measuring for Facebook.

The entire thing could have been avoided if Instagram (like other apps able to open web pages) used the default browser of the device instead. Yet built-in mini browsers are known for their lightning-fast work, as they specifically render pages to increase the loading speed.

Did this make you feel conspicuous? How do you think Meta uses the collected data? Is it all as fair as they state? Tell us what you think about it in the comments!


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