Facebook Harvested Detailed Call and SMS Logs For Years, Report Says

Facebook User Data

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph Thomson Reuters (Reuters) - Facebook Inc, responding to reports in some technology industry media that it has been logging users' call and text history without their permission, said in a statement on Sunday that the function "has always been opt-in only".

Ars Technica reported Saturday that some Facebook users had discovered years' worth of phone call metadata in their downloadable Facebook data file. "While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only", Facebook said.

Dylan McKay of New Zealand was one of the first to discover Facebook's collection of call and text records.

Some users have even begun opting out of using the site altogether, although Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that people weren't ditching the site in large numbers.

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Facebook uses phone-contact data as part of its friend recommendation algorithm.

The website ars technica reported that users who checked data collected by Facebook found that it had two or more years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and text messages. That is what Facebook did up until Google squashed the workaround in version 4.0 of the Android API in October 2017. But Android applications could bypass this change if they were written to earlier versions of the API, so Facebook API could continue to gain access to call and SMS data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version. But spokeswomen did not answer a question about why exactly it needs phone call and text message information.

Facebook users can delete their contact data in the browser version of the site. 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. Really, this isn't so much a shocking revelation as a reminder that many people have explicitly granted permission to Facebook and its apps without realizing what data they were offering up in the process.

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