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Android users, Facebook has been collecting your call and SMS history for years

It does not look as if iPhone users are affected by this latest news.

Facebook login screen with facebook logo in background
Image: Medium

Due to the recent scandal revolving around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, it should be of no surprise that people are concerned about their data, especially their data on Facebook. This concern has led to many people downloading their full Facebook archive that details every post, photo, conversation, and IP you’ve had through Facebook and Messenger. These are but a few examples of the information you can access, and it was during this time that users started noticing something was a little bit off. 

It seems Facebook has been collecting Android users call and SMS history and compiling it, and this has been going on for years. At this time, it does not look like iPhone users have been affected by this, as Apple has much stricter privacy policies in place that restrict apps from accessing call and SMS information. These finding from Android devices come from a time when Android was more lax about permissions from apps on the platform. This was put to an end in October 2017 when Google changed Android permissions, but up until that point apps like Facebook could still gain access to the old API.

I’m sure you’ve gotten the prompt from Facebook about letting Messenger take over as the default SMS app, and that is one thing, it clearly states “continuously upload info about your contacts […].” The concern comes in that it’s not really clear how long Facebook has been collecting this data and if the prompt mentioned prior has been in place the entire time.

Facebook seems to be taking this all in stride, telling The Verge:

“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,” says a Facebook spokesperson. 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.”

Yes, uploading your contacts, sure, but collecting the data from your contacts? That’s a stretch. We will update this post as more information is made available.

How do you feel about Facebook tracking your call and SMS history? Let us know how you feel down in the comments below! 

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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