Facebook and Instagram are reportedly 'rewriting websites' visited by their users so they can follow them around the web.
Research from an ex-Google engineer claims that the social networks 'inject' other websites with a tracking code whenever a link is opened through their in-app browser.
This means Facebook and Instagram can monitor everything from your Internet history to your 'passwords, addresses, and credit card numbers'.
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Meta has hit back at the claims saying that the tracking code follows users' privacy preferences, and that the data gathered is only 'aggregated' for use in targeted advertising.
Felix Krause, a privacy researcher, said: "The Instagram app injects their tracking code into every website shown, including when clicking on ads, enabling them [to] monitor all user interactions, like every button and link tapped, text selections, screenshots, as well as any form inputs, like passwords, addresses, and credit card numbers."
In a statement, Meta responded to the claims by saying: "We intentionally developed this code to honour people's [tracking] choices on our platforms.
"The code allows us to aggregate user data before using it for targeted advertising or measurement purposes."
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This isn't the first worrying revelation about Facebook's approach to privacy this year.
Its parent company Meta apparently wants to build an artificial intelligence that can 'understand and interact with the world like we do'.
It said: "AI typically learns from photos and videos captured in third-person, but next-generation AI will need to learn from videos that show the world from the center of action," the company said.
It went on: "AI that understands the world from this point of view could unlock a new era of immersive experiences."
The social media giant, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp too, was repeatedly asked to sit through court hearings in the USA following allegations of spreading misinformation to its users.
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