+ Thursday July 18th, 2019

If you’re Facebook, then the last couple of weeks have not been good. On the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has again been caught up in another mini-scandal, this time getting caught collecting your phone and SMS history.

Over the weekend, it was found that Facebook has been collecting your phone and SMS history, a fact you can verify for yourself in a download of your Facebook archive. The issue as it is, was discovered by New Zealander Dylan McKay who tweeted about it :

The collection of data appears to only be for users on Android devices, which was backed up by Facebook who today released a statement. In the statement, Facebook said ‘Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android’.

Why are they doing it? Facebook said

This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about, and provide you with a better experience across Facebook.

Over at Ars Technica, Sean Gallagher has gone into a deeper explanation of the permissions, with the issue seemingly to be an earlier version of Google’s permissions API for apps targeting API levels pre-Android 4.1. Apps prior to API version 16, including Facebook were granted access to call and message logs by default. Facebook skirted the permission change by targeting an earlier API after the change, enabling them to still collect the call and SMS data.

This collection of data can be switched off according to Facebook. Messenger users they can turn it off in settings, while Facebook Lite users can find out how to turn it off by going here.

Turning it off may not actually purge already collected data though, with Gallagher finding that his archive still retained the same call and SMS metadata.

Facebook has already got a fairly major security issue currently in play. Earlier this month, several outlets including The New York Times,The Guardian and The Observer, showed that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was able to scrape data from 50-million Facebook users against Facebook policies and then use that data to possibly influence the US election.

There’s currently a big #DeleteFacebook movement going on already based on the Cambridge Analytica issue, and now paired with call/sms history logging – even if ostensibly done with your permission – it’s not a good time to be Facebook.

Source: Facebook.
Via: Ars Technica.

Daniel Tyson  


Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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Philip ClarkMr ATibb SoWillRickO Recent comment authors
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Mr A
Mr A

So people are getting upset because Facebook is doing what it says it would? Doesn’t anyone read what they are agreeing to when ever they hit ‘ok I’ve read the terms and conditions’

Philip Clark
Ausdroid Reader

If you have time to read 5000 word Ts & Cs every time you sign up to a service, I’m glad you’re enjoying your retirement.

Ausdroid Reader

If Google want Allo to actually compete with Messenger, now is the perfect time to launch multi-device/Google account sign-in.


Vindication. I got rid of FaceBook years ago – most people knew what was happening, it was the depth or the extent of the abuse that has everyone upset. Glad my Oppo R11S Plus had a stand alone FaceBook app (not embedded) so it was promptly deleted. But fear not pilgrams – Google is into MegaData collection as well so they probably have duplicate copies of data.

Tibb So
Ausdroid Reader
Tibb So

Would say if you have a non-hardened Android based phone then Google has access to any data they want. There is also a 50/50 chance that Oppo is also collecting as much data as it wants under orders from the party.

Andrew Lyons
Ausdroid Reader

Because no one ever suggested they were tracking our every move and using it against us.

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