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Facebook accused for collecting your Phone calls and text data for years

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Facebook User Privacy was always a concern since it leaks users profile & personal info with third parties for marketing purpose. Recently Cambridge Analytica a data research company had collected data from millions of Facebook accounts without users knowledge and consent from FB account.

Facebook collecting text messages and phone call data

To add up more on these privacy issue, Facebook now involved in a new controversy for collecting users’ contacts details , text and call detail data through the Facebook app on your phone from several years.

As per article published in Arstechnica which says that the users’ requested for a Facebook archive, they were provided with a ZIP file to download, these zip file had complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages sent and received between 2015 and 2017. This is not in the case of  Apple’s iOS operating system users.

One such Android user, Dylan McKay, a New Zealand-based programmer has reported this issue on twitter with the details of his call logs & text.

When Arstechnica contacted Facebook to explain why it collected phone and SMS data without users’ knowledge, a Facebook spokesperson responded in a fact check” blog post on Sunday, wherein he stated:

Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about, and provides you with a better experience across Facebook. People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If, at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off in settings, or here for Facebook Lite users, and all previously shared call and text history shared via that app is deleted. While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only.

We introduced this feature for Android users a couple of years ago. Contact importers are fairly common among social apps and services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with. This was first introduced in Messenger in 2015, and later offered as an option in Facebook Lite, a lightweight version of Facebook for Android.

How it works

When you sign up for Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android, or log into Messenger on an Android device, you are given the option to continuously upload your contacts as well as your call and text history. For Messenger, you can either turn it on, choose ‘learn more’ or ‘not now’. On Facebook Lite, the options are to turn it on or ‘skip’. If you chose to turn this feature on, we will begin to continuously log this information, which can be downloaded at any time using the Download Your Information tool.

If, at any point, you no longer wish to continuously upload this information, you can easily turn this feature off in your settings. You can also turn off continuous call and text history logging while keeping contact uploading enabled. You can also go to this page to see which contacts you have uploaded from Messenger, and you can delete all contact information you’ve uploaded from that app should you choose.

The company also confirmed it’s user that “We never sell this data, and this feature does not collect the content of your text messages or calls”

When this feature is enabled, uploading your contacts also allows us to use information like when a call or text was made or received. This feature does not collect the content of your calls or text messages. Your information is securely stored and we do not sell this information to third parties. You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook.

 

If you want to know if Facebook has been logging your calls and text, you can check your own data archive on Facebook.

Go to Settings (facebook.com/settings), and select Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of the General Account Settings section, and click Start My Archive. Allow the downloading process to complete. Once done, you will receive an email from Facebook with a link to your download.

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