Android cellphone users have noticed that Facebook has been collecting their call history and SMS data over the last few years. As per Forbes, users made the discovery after recently downloading their Facebook profile file following news of the recent Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
The scandal, which involved third-party applications misusing personal data from Facebook, prompted a rise in people backing up their accounts and deleting their profiles. Among the Android users who did so, several pointed out that their pulled data included detailed archives of call log information containing names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made.
In addition to archiving call log stats, other Android users recalled said their archived Facebook data included information from Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
While this may, ostensibly, appear to be an invasion of privacy, the practice is in fact lawful. Facebook has gone on record for requesting access to contacts, SMS data and call history via its Android version of the app. Access to this information allows the app to improve its friend recommendation algorithm. In regards to Messenger, the app has also requested Android users set it up as a default SMS service.
In a statement made to Ars Technica, a Facebook spokesperson explained why they collected the data. “The most important part of apps and services that help you make connections is to make it easy to find the people you want to connect with," it said. "So, the first time you sign in on your phone to a messaging or social app, it’s a widely used practice to begin by uploading your phone contacts."
In this case, whether they know it or not, users have granted permission for Facebook to access this data. Let us know your own experiences in the comments below.
In other news, Apple wants to introduce emoji to represent people with disabilities.