Trust in Facebook is very likely at an all-time low due to recent events. And a new report about how the company’s own app logs data isn’t likely to help.
Over the past week, several Android users discovered that Facebook had collected and saved extensive call data. That data included call type, contact names, phone numbers, and the length of calls made, Ars Technica reported.
One of those users, New Zealand man Dylan McKay, discovered about two years’ worth of phone call metadata, Ars Technica reported. McKay made the distressing discovery when browsing an archive of data that Facebook had collected on him.
Are Technica received reports of several other Facebook users with Android devices who had similar stories to tell. The writer of the story, Sean Gallagher, even verified the call data collection with his own Facebook account. Gallagher also found that the social media site had saved metadata for SMS and MMS messages he sent and received.
Luckily for those running iOS, the issue only seems to be impacting Facebook users on Android devices.
Facebook responded in a statement by stating that the use of contact data was “a widely used practice.” Additionally, in a “fact check” blog post on Sunday, Facebook clarified that it only collected call and SMS data from users who have explicitly opted-in.
“Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android,” the firm wrote. “This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about, and provide you with a better experience across Facebook.”
The firm claims that users would have to “expressly agree” to use the feature, and can turn it off at any time.
On the other hand, Ars Technica points out that this contradicts the first-hand accounts of some of its sources. Basically, Facebook asks for permission to do this data collection — but never explicitly revealed the data being collected.
Facebook points out that it keeps all of this data secure and private, and doesn’t sell it to third parties. But the firm also never reveals why it collects such extensive call data beyond contact names and phone numbers.
If you’re concerned about data collection and privacy, you can follow these tips to shore up your privacy practices. In addition, you can download an archive of the data that Facebook has collected on you.