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Exposed!! Facebook Collects Your Personal Calls & Text Messages For Years – Here’s How To Download Them



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Mar 26 2018
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As Facebook stock price continues taking the beating, thanks to Cambridge Analytica scandal, founder Mark Zuckerberg has been busily apologizing. It has gotten so bad that the world’s largest social media network was reduced to running advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers – Observer, Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal – apologizing to users.

 

Hit by at least four lawsuits and threats by giant advertisers such as Unilever to pull its ads from Facebook, Zuckerberg faces another headache. Opinion polls published on Sunday in the United States and Germany indicated that a majority of the public were losing trust in Facebook over privacy matters after the Cambridge Analytica data breach exploded.

 

Only 41% of Americans trust Facebook to obey laws that protect their personal information, according to Reuters / Ipsos online poll. In comparison, 66% said they trust Amazon.com, 62% Americans trust Google while 60% trusts Microsoft. A German poll conducted by Kantar EMNID, meanwhile, shows only 33% found Facebook and other social media had a positive effect on democracy.

Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal - Mark Zuckerberg Apologize - Newspaper

While the Cambridge Analytica scandal is still hot, another bombshell was unleashed over the weekend. As it turned out, Facebook has been collecting or saving users’ personal calls and text messages over many years. So far, only Android users are affected. At the rate data breach and privacy issues are being exposed, this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Reported by Ars Technica, the latest privacy scandal was discovered when a New Zealander, Dylan McKay, was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him which he had downloaded from the social media network’s archive. And he found something incredibly disturbing – Facebook had collected his private call metadata from his Android phone for about 2 years.

 

Other information collected from the archive included phone number, names and length of each call made or received. If you’re using Android phone, chances are your phone metadata is being collected by Facebook too. Here’s how to download a copy of your Facebook data so that you can view the information saved in Facebook servers.

Facebook Privacy Scandal - Download Data on Phone and Text Message

  • Once you login to Facebook, tap or click the drop-down menu on top-right side.
  • Select or click on “Settings”
  • Below the “General Account Settings”, there’s a link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  • After you clicked on the link, Facebook will send the data to your email.

 

When confronted, Facebook explained that – “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. 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.

 

Along with the phone call metadata, SMS and MMS message metadata were also collected. Facebook further responded – “Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about, and provide you with a better experience across Facebook.”

Facebook Privacy Scandal - Information of Phone and Text Message Collected

Facebook also pointed out – “People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If, at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off in settings, or here for Facebook Lite users, and all previously shared call and text history shared via that app is deleted. While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only.

 

However, Facebook’s explanation fails to doze off the fire of what is seen as the latest breach of privacy as it contradicts with the experience of several users, including the New Zealander who was shocked by his discovery. Dylan McKay claimed that he installed Messenger in 2015, but only allowed the app the permissions in the Android manifest that were required for installation.

 

Mr. McKay says he removed and re-installed the app several times over the course of the next few years, but never explicitly gave the app permission to read his SMS records and call history. McKay’s call and SMS data runs through July of 2017, therefore, Facebook’s clarification is both misleading and false.

Facebook Privacy Scandal - Snooping Collecting Phone and Text Message Metadata

While Facebook always says that they keep the data secure and do not sell it to third parties, the Cambridge Analytica scandal proves that they can’t actually guarantee the security of users’ data. Even if Facebook needs the phone numbers and text message for whatever reasons they cooked up, they still couldn’t answer why they collect the date, time and length of those calls – for years.

 

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