Facebook Keeps Tabs on Android SMS and calls

Facebook Keeps Tabs on Android SMS and calls

One week after the Cambridge Analytica data breach went public, Facebook is continuing to lose trust with its users as many go to delete their accounts. However, for many users, the surprises keep coming, as they were shocked to find out Facebook had been collecting call records and SMS messages. 

According to Ars Technica, a user from New Zealand, Dylan McKay was looking through data Facebook had collected, which he had downloaded from the social network site. While scanning through information the tech giant had about his contacts, McKay discovered that Facebook had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers and the length of each call made or received. 

Since this original flag, many users have also taken to Facebook with their own Facebook data archives. 

Following the report by Ars Technica, Facebook posted a blog on March 25 2018, which said: “You may have seen some recent reports that Facebook has been logging people’s call and SMS (text) history without their permission. This is not the case.

“Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about and provides you with a better experience on Facebook. People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off in settings, or here for Facebook Lite users, and all previously shared call and text history shared via that app is deleted. While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only.

“We introduced this feature for Android users a couple of years ago. Contact importers are fairly common among social apps and services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with. This was first introduced in Messenger in 2015, and later offered as an option in Facebook Lite, a lightweight version of Facebook for Android.”

The blog goes onto say that Facebook never sells the data, and the feature does not collect the content of users’ text messages or calls.

Source: Information Security Magazine