Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

Krales  The Verge

A social media user, Dylan McKay from New Zealand, downloaded his Facebook archive and was shocked to discover that almost two years' worth of call and text logs from his Android phone were included. Dylan McKay, a software developer in New Zealand, brought the issue to light on Twitter saying he downloaded his Facebook data as a ZIP file and "somehow it has my entire call history with my partner's mum". "While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only", the world's largest social media network said. People can also delete contact data from their profiles by using a tool available on Web browsers, Facebook stated. When the feature is enabled, the feature allows Facebook to see when a call or text was sent or received, the company said.

In the wake of the latest Facebook scandal, specifically its user data being collected and mis-used by Cambridge Analytica, it's been discovered that the social network's Android app was able to harvest an alarming amount of call and text message data from users without their explicit knowledge. In looking at his grandmother's data dump, he also discovered that Facebook had been collecting SMS records from 2015 to 2017. The app was able to collect data until Google deprecated Android API version 4.0 in October 2017. But spokeswomen did not answer a question about why exactly it needs phone call and text message information. And you may want to examine the rest of what can be found in the downloadable Facebook archive, as it includes all the advertisers that Facebook has shared your contact information with, among other things. After purging my contact data, my contacts and calls were still in the archive I downloaded the next day-though this may be because the archive was still the same cache I had requested on Friday. Since you can't turn back time and prevent yourself from welcoming Facebook into your phone's contacts section, best you can do is delete your contacts' data and hope for the best.

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