Facebook collected users’ contact data for years

by Linas Kiguolis - -

There is no surprise that a social network Facebook knows about you a lot. However, it also collected your contacts, SMS and call data for years. 

Facebook collected your data for years

If you have installed Facebook Messenger application on your Android smartphone or tablet, it is very likely that Facebook had been gathered your personal information, including your contacts, text messages, and even call history until late 2017.[1] 

A recent tweet for a programmer based in New Zealand Dylan McKay[2] indicated that the programmer has received his personal data, including complete logs of call history and text messages from last year in an archive downloaded from Facebook as a ZIP file. 

The earlier press has reported that Facebook was collecting its users’ call history and SMS data for years. The story did not receive much attention at the time. However, since the company got involved in controversies over its data collecting and sharing practices after the Cambridge Analytica incident, Facebook is facing privacy debate, and McKay’s tweet got viral. 

A social network spokesman noted that all social networking sites aim to provide users the best connectivity possible with their friends and relatives, Facebook is not an exception and also uploads users’ contact information.

According to researchers at ARS Technica, in older versions of Google’s operating system Android, the permissions were not so strict and the Facebook application could take users’ contact data.[3] These permissions of installation provided Facebook full access to users’ call history and text messages data automatically. 

At the present time, Google has updated the Android permissions in version 16 of its API and clarified them. In addition, it informs users whenever any of the installed applications attempt to execute permissions. 

However, some of the developers bypassed this adjustment, and Facebook was able to remain its access to users’ call and text messages data until October 2017, when Google deprecated version 4.0 of the Android API. 

If you want to check what information and data Facebook has collected so far, you need to go to your Facebook’s Settings, select an option ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’  and tap on ‘Start My Archive’.

Those who are not willing to share with Facebook this data and do not want the company to upload contact information to its server, are able to turn off the continuous uploading setting in the Facebook Messenger application. In addition, this adjustment will remove all previously updated contact data. 

iPhone and iPad users should not worry because iOS has never allowed silent access to contact, call history, or SMS messages data.

About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Senior IT developer

Linas Kiguolis is a senior IT developer and news editor at Reviewedbypro.com. He has a major in Applied Computer Science because IT has been his passion for a very long time even before he went to college.

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