If someone told you that Facebook was collecting data on you, at this point you’d probably just shrug and accept it as fact. Given how it seems like every other day there is a new story about how the social media site has done something to invade your privacy, no one would blame you.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been on an apology tour and recently took out a full-page newspaper ad to say he’s sorry about the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco.
But now, as he’s trying to get past that privacy invasion mess, comes another questionable action. Facebook keeping track of phone calls and text messages. If that sounds bad that’s because it is, though according to Facebook it’s not exactly what it seems.
But first, it is happening
As people have decided to deactivate or delete their Facebook accounts entirely, many have first downloaded their file. Yes, Facebook keeps a file on you and your online dealings, which you can learn more about by clicking here.
In doing so, Android users discovered that there is a section that has details on phone calls and text messages sent over a certain period of time. Needless to say, that revelation was not met with a smile and celebration.
Oh wow my deleted Facebook Zip file contains info on every single phone cellphone call and text I made for about a year- cool totally not creepy.
— Mat Johnson (@mat_johnson) March 23, 2018
This is the kind of publicity Facebook certainly does not need right now, especially as they deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica mess. But whether they want to or not, this quickly became a story and yet another instance of what appears to be Facebook prying into our personal lives in a way we never knew.
Turns out it is all related to the Facebook Messenger app.
Facebook says you asked for it
Unlike the last story, which Facebook waited almost a week to address, they jumped right on a blog to explain what happened. In it, they claim that there has been no logging of calls or texts without anyone’s permission.
“Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android,” they wrote. “This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about and provides you with a better experience across Facebook.”
According to the post, people also had to “expressly agree to use this feature,” and it could be turned off at any time. To do so, Facebook provides these instructions:
Facebook adds that if you delete the app entirely, all previously shared call and text history shared with it will also be deleted. In general, their response to the newest drama is that people had to opt-in to their calls and texts being logged and that the feature, which was introduced in 2015, is not all that uncommon among social apps and services.
Beyond that, Facebook maintains they do not collect the content of any calls or messages, and that any information they do glean is never sold to anyone else.
Feel a little better?
Look at this specific issue, it appears as though it might be a bit overblown. Yes, Facebook does have data on calls and texts made with Android devices; however, it’s something people technically agreed to and could easily stop if they so choose.
At the same time, with as embattled as Facebook is right now, any bad press — no matter how mild or unfair it might be — is something they can not afford. But once again, here we are.
Have a question about the data Facebook collects? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show. The Kim Komando Show is broadcast on over 450 stations. Click here to find the show time in your area.
As an FYI, Facebook can still track your deleted account
While we knew we were providing some information about ourselves when we signed up, the scope of what all Facebook knows about us is pretty overwhelming. That data has been used in ways we never really thought of, taking advantage of us while we were none the wiser. Click here to learn more about what they’ve got on you.