Facebook scooped up Android call and text metadata (with consent)


Facebook also collected text message metadata such as recipient and time sent. People can also delete contact data from their profiles by using a tool available on Web browsers, Facebook stated.

On the same day Facebook bought ads in USA 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.

This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site.

"You may have seen some recent reports that Facebook has been logging people's call and SMS (text) history without their permission".

The Verge website reported that some Twitter users said they found months or years of call history data in their downloadable Facebook data file.

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This comes amid fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said contact uploading is optional, and permission is explicitly required from apps to access contacts.

When a user's download of his Facebook data yielded a pretty comprehensive look at his call logs and SMS, eyebrows were raised regarding Facebook's transparency about its level of access. Apps like Facebook could, however, bypass this API change by targeting lower APIs until Google finally deprecated it in October 2017. Facebook never sells this data, the company said, and it never collects the actual content of your conversations. 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. In a statement to Ars, a Facebook spokesperson referred to the data as part of the "widely used practice [of] uploading your phone contacts" to connect users to their real-life friends.

As always, if you're really concerned about privacy, you should not share address book and call-log data with any mobile application.