Reasons not to use an in-app browser

Apple and Google are both working to prevent websites from tracking user behavior. While the Chrome browser has gradually phased out the use of cookies (files a website creates and stores when a user visits), Apple has gone a step further by allowing users to actively choose to block apps or websites according to their preferences. track their activity on the internet.

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Default in-app browser is an information security threat

However, the default browser in the application appears to be beyond the processing capacity of the “tech giants”. This type of browser is inherently quite annoying when it does not share access history, login information or other options with the default web browser on the machine. This type of application is quite popular on Facebook and Instagram platforms and is not subject to any restrictions from Meta.

The reason is that application developers themselves when creating in-app browsers are always more comfortable with the options they want to develop. A recent study by Fastlane researcher Felix Krause shows that Facebook and Instagram can track everything they want when users use the in-app browser (which is usually enabled by default when browsing the Internet). lead or advertise on these platforms).

In-app browser tracking

Research using Instagram as an example. The platform injects a JavaScript programming language called Meta Pixel that contains tracking code into every website a user opens. Instagram’s gallery is designed so that website developers can track who visits their site. Meta inserts the above JavaScript into every website without consulting, and collects data on its own.

When a user opens a link from Instagram, the application will insert a Meta Pixel to help the software “see” and record all activities here, from touches to opened images, time spent on the page… Instagram then uses this information to display ads to users and can create a clearer picture of the account holder’s personal habits.

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In theory, the in-app browser could also record personal information such as passwords and credit card data (if entered by the user). Research has not yet found evidence that Meta is doing this kind of nefarious thing, but it’s important that some random piece of software with a built-in web browser is quite capable of doing it.

What do users need to do with this type of browser?

First, never open a link on Facebook, Instagram or any other built-in browser. When accidentally clicked, the software immediately records the action and the user cannot do anything about it. So if you accidentally touch it, turn it off as soon as possible.

Instagram has the option to open the website with the default application on the device, but is hidden in the Menu button.

Another option is to stop using the software altogether. Switch to the web-based version and users no longer have to worry about being tracked by the in-app browser when tapping a link there.

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