Tinfoil hat wearers who have been warning people about big brother watching you through your phone might be saying “I told you so.” A Facebook user discovered that the social media giant has been keeping extensive records about texts and calls he made on his Android smartphone. Facebook admits to the behavior but says it had permission to do so.
Over the weekend, Dylan McKay downloaded his Facebook data and was alarmed to find to find that that social media app kept records of his calls and texts he made from his Android device. He shared the information in a Tweet that has since been RT’ed well over 39,00 times and liked over 50,000 times.
A report from Ars Technica corroborate the New Zealand native’s discovery and soon he wasn’t alone in discovering Facebook scraped their phone data.
Now if you’re iPhone user you have no need to worry about this but Android users who frequently use Facebook Messenger app or low data Facebook Lite is the only ones seemed to be affected. Now Facebook has said they had permission from users to gather such information and claim it’s in “opt-in feature” and they only use it to improve Facebook and don’t look at or share the data.
Mark Zuckerberg has been on an apology tour and the social network in a response posted on their blog explaining their side of the story. In the post, they double down on the claims that they, in fact, do have permission to log users calls and texts. They also state that it’s completely “opt-in” and they only do it to help you stay connected with people you care about and improve your Facebook experience. If you don’t like the idea of Facebook having the data you can turn off the setting at any time.
“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.”
It may be too late for Zuckerberg and his app as #DeleteFacebook has gained some momentum on Twitter. Elon Musk has deleted his accounts as well as his business page accounts off the service other users are following suit or being on the verge of saying bye bye to the social network.
Companies such as Mozilla declared “we are taking a break from Facebook” in a recent blog post. Even Apple’s own Tim Cook is calling for some form of “well-crafted” regulation of personal data and that is “necessary”.
Will this be the end of Facebook? Most experts say no but it sure is not looking good for Facebook at this moment. Hit the flip the to see more fallout for Facebook’s sloppy behavior.
Photo:Hoch Zwei / Getty