Facebook kept track of calls and texts sent by users with an Android phone

Facebook kept track of calls and texts sent by users with an Android phone
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of explaining to do. The social networking site has been lambasted in the media for possibly violating a 2011 consent decree with the FTC that prevented it from giving out information about subscribers without their permission. But the latest bomb to strike might be the most damaging. A man living in New Zealand was looking through the data that Facebook had collected about his contacts when he discovered something rather shocking. Facebook had tracked two-years worth of phone calls that were made from his Android phone.

The data included in the listing not only revealed if the call was incoming or outgoing, it also listed missed calls, the name of the person on the other end of the line, the length of the call, and the date and time it was placed. You can see what a call log looks like by viewing the image at the top of this story. And others have discovered this same thing when they requested a zip file of the information collected on them by Facebook over the years. A spokesman for the beleaguered company said that it is common practice for a messaging or social media app to upload your phone contacts the first time you log into such a site. This is done to make it easy for you to contact the people you have contact with. The spokesman went on to say that contacts uploading is optional although installing Facebook does require that you grant permission to Facebook so that it can access your contacts.

According to Facebook, your contacts are used for its friend recommendation algorithm. And if you agreed to allow Facebook to access your contacts list prior to Android 4.1, you were giving the company permission to see your call and text logs by default. This practice was eventually eliminated with version 16 of the Android API, although Facebook could still access phone and SMS records by citing an earlier Android SDK version. The tracking of calls appears to have ended in late 2017.

You might want to request that Facebook email everything in your archive since it also includes the name of advertisers that it has shared your data with. To have your archive sent to you, go to your desktop browser and open your Facebook account. Press on the upside down triangle at the top of any Facebook page, and click on Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data > Start My Archive. Make sure you have some smelling salts before you open the email from Facebook that contains your archive.

Request your archive from Facebook to see what information it is holding about you

Request your archive from Facebook to see what information it is holding about you


source: @dylanmckaynz via ArsTechnica

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34 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 3651; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Checked my Facebook data earlier this week. No surprises. Love that Google and Facebook let you check your data saved. Other secretive companies who stand behind an image of supposed privacy should let you do that.

11. bucky

Posts: 3764; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Enjoy living in the Wild West. Keep feeding that advertising machine while in denial.

17. therealestmc

Posts: 678; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

No one cares. That's how Facebook pays the bills. You think people just get to keep using a product without paying for it? Nothing is free.

39. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4764; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Ads, ads...ads everywhere. Also, games.

21. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I too love it when a pickpocket takes my wallet then shows me how much money he stole. Such a very genuine and noble motto to live by./s

27. cmdacos

Posts: 3651; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

There is nothing in my account.zip that will cause me any harm financially or otherwise. Keep being over dramatic about a non-issue.

44. mootu

Posts: 1261; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Nothing was stolen, all these shocked, protesting people agreed to this when they agreed to let the facebook app manage SMS and calls. They gave full access, it's thier own fault they didn't read what permissions they were giving to the app.

31. iushnt

Posts: 3020; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

I do agree with your point. They (FB) are transparent about this. Others should too.

5. Awalker

Posts: 1954; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I have a fake Facebook profile. I don't upload any content to it nor do I talk to anyone or friend anyone but it kept on recommending people I know. Now I know why. I didn't know they collecting that information.

8. Doakie

Posts: 2443; Member since: May 06, 2009

So that fake Facebook profile has easily been linked to you anyways because they know your number and they probably have a partner company who has your phone number and real name linked. I'm surprised they haven't banned accounts that aren't using their real names, I thought they said they were going to do that. Either way, I'm glad I use the stupid mobile website instead.

14. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 884; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Your fake facebook profile is still linked to you.

7. gamehead unregistered

Who still uses this spyware?

9. Doakie

Posts: 2443; Member since: May 06, 2009

My wife, and almost everyone I know...

32. iushnt

Posts: 3020; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Me too, so far it’s making my life easier than doing any sort of harm.

12. toyboyz

Posts: 231; Member since: Jan 22, 2010

Had to happen sometime I guess like with Myspace. :/ The end of an era!

15. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3038; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Did I read that right? 446 minutes on one call?

18. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2206; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

You’d be surprised how many people like to stay on the phone during work hours with their significant other even if they’re doing nothing. I had a guy I used to work with that was constantly on the phone all day with his wife even if they weren’t talking to each other. It’s weird to me, but to each his own.

19. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Somebody spent seven hours talking to someone else. I can't even hold a conversation for 45 mins without getting restless.

51. Xtraflossy

Posts: 31; Member since: Mar 13, 2018

Like clockwork, T-mobile ends a call at 4 hours, regardless of if you are texting back and forth in between. I guess it just assumes you butt dialed something.

52. andynaija

Posts: 1230; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

I looked this up and I'm kinda surprised, I didn't know there was a phone call limit.

46. worldpeace

Posts: 3034; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

And that's what you call a good carrier.. It's impossible for me to make long lasting call like that, I'll need some luck to make 20 minutes call without a random dropped-call

16. therealestmc

Posts: 678; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

People are making themselves more important than they actually are. Selling your data is how Facebook and Google make their money.

20. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I'm glad you care more about some s**tty companies and their business models than your own solidarity. Me? I'd rather not sell myself out just so two ad w***es can make a quick dime.

33. iushnt

Posts: 3020; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

If I can get a good service for selling my data worth nothing to me (yes it’s worth nothing to me and can do no harm to me), then that’s a great product. I am being able to reunite and be in touch with lots of my contacts that I made since my childhood.

22. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I knew it. People are apologizing for being spied on, and doing so believing it on good faith. Why are humans so damn naive?

36. rouyal

Posts: 1535; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

You are not special! You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake! You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else! We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world! We are all part of the same compost keep.

41. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You... uh... you good there, buddy?

26. BGChicago

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Next is Google. You guys have no idea how much and what they collect...for decades.

28. cmdacos

Posts: 3651; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I know exactly what they collect because I have access to my data dashboard.

37. rouyal

Posts: 1535; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Unless the Dems can blame them for losing the election, they are safe, no matter how much data they have.

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