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Facebook's new app could bring you phone calls from late relatives

Facebook recently came out with a new app for Android gadgets called Hello. The app is like super-charged caller ID, because it links phone numbers to Facebook accounts and provides you with additional information about the people or companies that are calling you. But, it also has a drawback. It could accidentally tell you that you recently spoke to a dead person.

That nightmare scenario happened to Huffington Post writer Damon Beres recently after he downloaded the app and took a look at his call history.

When I downloaded the "Hello" app to my smartphone, I swiped over to my call history and was startled to find that my friend's younger brother Oliver was showing up instead of him -- even though he passed away two years ago.

That's a shocking and potentially tragic mix-up. Imagine opening up the app to see the name of a recently deceased relative in your call history. It's a glitch that could cause a painful situation for some of the app's users.

Apparently, the problem is caused by the phone numbers linked to your Facebook account. If two people have the same number linked to their account, it can confuse the app. For example, if two of your family members both use their home phone number as their primary number on Facebook. The Hello app could confuse the two people even if one of them passes away. A similar situation occurred in Beres' case.

In other words, Oliver had two numbers associated with his account: His own cell phone number that was posted on his Facebook profile for others to see, and, for reasons that aren't clear, my friend's cell phone number that was kept private but associated with his account.

That confused the Hello app. It associated Beres' friend's phone number with his deceased brother's account, so it showed the wrong name in Beres' call history.

If you or anyone you know has multiple phone numbers or shared phone numbers associated with your Facebook account, you should probably consider the implications of that now. It could help avoid painful confusion in the future.

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