After a report from Ars Technica that Facebook has been stealthily retrieving calls and text messages on Android phones for years, the firm accused of scandal responded that it was not collecting these information that users have given their consent.
Facebook’s public statement, published on its press website, comes a few days after the publication of full-page newspaper ads to apologize for the misuse of the data by people. third-party applications because of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal (follow the story as it develops here). In advertising, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “We have the responsibility to protect your information. If we can not, we do not deserve it. “
The company’s response to the story of Ars Technica, however, struck a different tone, with Facebook titling the article “Fact Check: Your Call and SMS Story.” ” He said “You may have seen recent reports that Facebook is recording people’s call and history of text messages without their permission.” This is not the case. to explain that logging of call history and texts is included with an activation feature on Messenger or Facebook Lite for Android that “people must expressly agree to use” and that they can disable at any time, which would also delete the call and text data shared with this application.
Ars Technica has already modified his original post in response to Facebook’s statement, claiming that it contradicts many of his findings, including the experience of users who shared their data with the publication.
“In my case, a review of my Google Play data confirms that Messenger has never been installed on Android devices that I’ve used,” wrote Ars Technica IT and Sean Gallagher , Editor-in-Chief of National Security. “Facebook was installed on a Nexus tablet that I used and on the Blackphone 2 in 2015, and there was never an explicit message requesting access to phone calls and SMS data. Still, there is call data from the end of 2015 until the end of 2016, when I reinstalled the operating system on the Blackphone 2 and cleared all the applications. “
In his statement, Facebook said, “Contact importers are pretty common among apps and social services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with.” This was introduced in Messenger in 2015 , and later offered as an option in Facebook Lite, a lite version of Facebook for Android . “
When users sign up for the first time on Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android or connect to Messenger on an Android device, they see a screen allowing them to continuously download contacts as well as the user. call history and SMS. Facebook added that on Messenger, there are three options available to users: enable the function, “learn more” for more information or “not now” to ignore it. On Facebook Lite, they have two options: turn it on or skip. If users who opted to change their mind later, Facebook said that they could disable in the application settings, with the ability to disable the continuous call and logging Text history while keeping the download contact enabled or removing all app contact information. “
Facebook pointed out in bold print that it “never sells this data, and this feature does not collect the content of your text messages or calls.”
Even though opt-in screens state that the “will continuously download information” on contacts and call history and texts, it is questionable that many users do not really understand this that means and that instead of allowing friends to end up on Facebook and helps us create a better experience for all “(a message sweetened with a jerky caricature of a texting character a little heart) , Facebook should really give more details on what will be recorded and why.
With the Cambridge Analytica scandal still present in all minds, Facebook’s apparent willingness to place the responsibility for protecting personal data on users who already feel victimized is unlikely to help them regain their goodwill. But even people who really understand the implications of the feature and choose to join it anyway assume that their data will be kept as promised Facebook. As the Cambridge Analytica fiasco has highlighted, this has not always been the case.