Facebook slurped up phone and sms data from Android phones

Android users may have unwittingly gave Facebook access to personal data they didn't realize they were giving away

Android users may have unwittingly gave Facebook access to personal data they didn't realize they were giving away

Has Facebook been logging your calls and texts?

Facebook has been uploading SMSs and phone logs of Android users, an Ars Technica investigation found this weekend.

On the same day Facebook bought ads in US and British newspapers to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media site faced new questions about collecting phone numbers and text messages from Android devices.

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The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday wrote to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg detailing new concerns about the social media company's use of data and formally requesting that he testify at a hearing.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, more Facebook users have become increasingly educated about the data they're sharing with the platform, and how that information is being used.

"You may have seen some recent reports that Facebook has been logging people's call and SMS (text) history without their permission". Users who downloaded their Facebook archive were appalled to find that logs about texts and calls they sent and received between 2015 and 2017 were available.

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A Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica that Facebook's apps explicitly ask permission to access contacts and other logs, and that it's entirely optional, with users able to delete their contact data using a tool on Facebook's website via web browser. Those affected by the seemingly non-consensual data collection appear to be those who have opted to permit Facebook to suggest new friends based on phone numbers stored in the address book. Apps like Facebook could, however, bypass this API change by targeting lower APIs until Google finally deprecated it in October 2017.

If you want to check to see if Facebook has been gathering the same information from you, you can do by visiting your account settings and selecting the Download a copy of your Facebook data option. Google changed this in a later Android API, but even then, Android applications written to earlier versions of the API could continue to harvest data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version.

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