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


Users downloading their Facebook histories have been startled to find that the company has been collecting call and SMS data. The company has responded by saying users are in control of what's uploaded to Facebook. However, the company also says it's a widely used practice when users first sign in on their phones to a messaging or social media app to begin by uploading the phone's contact list. That data then becomes part of the company's friend recommendation algorithm. On versions of Android before 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the permission to upload the contact list included call and message logs by default; since then the two permissions are separate. As many as half of Android users worldwide are still on older versions of the operating system.

Facebook says the company keeps the data secure and does not sell it to third parties, but doesn't explain why it feels the need to retain the numbers, dates, times, and lengths of calls for years.

Writer: Sean Gallegher
Publication: Ars Technica

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