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Facebook for years collected detailed call logs from users' Android smartphones, including the time of calls, the names and numbers of call recipients, and call duration, according to a new report.

Calls I made to my office number to check my voicemail, and from my office number to find my phone, found in my Facebook data archive.

It all boils down to Android permissions, and how Facebook's mobile app was taking advantage of an earlier versions of Android to collect a surprising amount of sensitive information.

"Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger".

In a response to the discovery, Facebook stressed that this call and text history logging was an "opt-in" feature for Facebook Lite or Messenger, and that you had to expressly agree to it. In looking at his grandmother's data dump, he also discovered that Facebook had been collecting SMS records from 2015 to 2017.

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Users may have unknowingly given Facebook permission to see their call and message logs if they downloaded its mobile app with older versions of Android and granted it access to their contacts. Prior to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Facebook's Android app asked for contacts permission, and if granted, it also allowed access to call and message data automatically.

As Facebook struggles to talk its way out of Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting reveal, this revelation could not have come at a worse time.

Facebook has been uploading SMSs and phone logs of Android users, an Ars Technica investigation found this weekend. The permission structure was changed in the Android API in version 16. When you have downloaded the archive, extract it, and look in the HTML folder for a file called contact_info.htm. But Android applications could bypass this change if they were written to earlier versions of the API, so Facebook API could continue to gain access to call and SMS data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version.

Facebook's not really stealing that information, though.


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