A rumor has ben circulating among Facebook users that a recent app outage was planned so Facebook’s developers could install tracking software onto Apple iPhones. This is not true.
One such post, shared 1,500 times since Jan. 23, promotes a post from another Facebook user that shows a “Tracking” tab on a screenshot from an Apple iPhone’s privacy settings (here). Alongside, the user writes: “Those of you who was logged out of face book this morning… check your phones, because it appears a new tracking device for app has been put on our phones.”
On Jan. 23, Facebook said a widespread issue whereby users had been logged out of their accounts was down to a “configuration change” – and did not elaborate any further.
So Facebook, heard it was a "configuration change".
👏👏👏 to the engineers who fixed the issue and patiently tried to explain the cause to us to no avail. https://t.co/AUARhCZ7W2
— Facebook App (@facebookapp) January 23, 2021
It did not have anything to do with the “Tracking” tab on Apple devices, which predated the Facebook issue.
The “Tracking” tab is actually part of Apple’s iOS 14 release last year, which aims to give iPhone users better control over their privacy. Called App Tracking Transparency (ATT), it requires users to explicitly give permission for downloaded apps to use their data. This would be for the purposes of targeted advertising and specific data sharing.
Facebook did not install a tracking device on to users’ mobile phones. The “Tracking” feature on Apple devices was introduced in a recent iOS 14 update and requires users to give their permission before apps can track specific data.
MacDailyNews Take: So, no, Facebook did not log out users to install tracking software on Apple iPhones, but if they thought they could’ve gotten away with it, they would have.