Has Facebook Been Harvesting Your Android Call Records?

One News Page Staff Sunday, 25 March 2018
Has Facebook Been Harvesting Your Android Call Records?by 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may finally be facing the public music with regard to the colossal data breach scandal that has hit his brand this week, things have hardly died down. Users are leaving the site or are altering their privacy permissions beyond recognition – and Facebook’s value on the stock market has taken a huge hit, with the brand now striving to regain face after it emerged that 50 million user records were shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica without public knowledge. It’s a scandal that is bigger than anything Zuckerberg has ever faced before – and with an ancient IM conversation between the CEO and a friend doing the rounds again - in which he refers to those offering private data to him via Facebook as ‘dumb f**ks’ – things may just be getting started.

The Key to Understanding Facebook's Current Crisis
Watch: The Key to Understanding Facebook's Current Crisis

Slashgear reports that, according to those digging into their own personal Facebook data archives, some people have been noticing that their call and SMS records are emerging in the ZIP files that you can download on request. The news suggests that old versions of the Facebook app for Android may have had access to call and text records for years – and while the latest versions of their IM software such as Messenger and WhatsApp have now implemented opt-out strategies, the discovery has only helped to perpetuate Facebook’s current data-unfriendly image.

However, Facebook may get out of this one on a technicality, even if it does little to comfort those using the apps. Those using the Android app a few years ago will have been able to authorise Facebook to access call and text logs by default – if they allowed the app to read contacts during the installation process. It’s thought that access to contacts and logs helps to improve friend networks and requests – but as far as many people may be concerned, keeping tabs on calls and texts is perhaps a step too far in the wrong direction. If this sounds like you, you know what to do – get looking into changing those permissions!

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Watch: Report: Facebook App Tracked Some Users' Calls, Messages

Current models of the apps on offer now allow you to make informed decisions upon the data that is collected and shared – meaning that there should be less concern about this moving forward – however, as the scandal continues to reverberate, we will likely be hearing more about the data we share on a regular basis from various media outlets. If you use Facebook and wish to continue doing so – it’s time, perhaps, to start considering tuning up your privacy and data sharing options.


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