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Facebook and Snapchat use App Tracking Transparency loophole to track users, claims report

By Roland Udvarlaki December 9, 2021, 7:30 am
Facebook and Snapchat Apple App Tracking and Transparency Source: Pocketnow

Apple rolled out its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in iOS 14.5, and the many large companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and even Snapchat have been affected with less revenue. The update focuses on cutting down user tracking, and providing less anonymous data to companies, making it harder to track people on an individual basis and show more personalized ads and paid recommendations.

According to a new report by the Financial Times (via XDA-Developers), services like Facebook and Snapchat have found a way around the entire tracking situation and found a way to track users. A loophole in Apple’s guidelines allows developers to track users, even if users disabled tracking upon updating to iOS 14.5 and later.


The report mentions that it’s “an unacknowledged shift that lets companies follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policy.” Apple’s guidelines tell developers that their apps “may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it.” This means that services and apps are still tracking users and they’re collecting anonymized data from a group of users, rather than individually. Companies then collect data and sell it to advertisers, who can then do their own magic and show more personalized advertisements to these groups.

Snapchat is just one of the companies that is selling data of its 306 million users to advertisers, and Facebook is also working on new ways to track users in an anonymized way to now breach Apple’s policies. It’s interesting to see how much data is worth, and how valuable it is for these companies to stay profitable. It would also be interesting to find out how Google, one of the largest advertisers in the world, is coping with Apple’s policies.

Did you turn off app tracking when you updated to iOS 14.5, or did you enable it for a few specific apps? If you have turned it on, why? Let us know in the comments below!


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