Facebook is getting another dose of bad headlines in regard to privacy, amid revelations that the company has been storing data about Android users’ phone calls and text messages.
As the Guardian notes, some users discovered this while deleting their accounts after the Cambridge Analytica mess or at least while investigating what Facebook knows about them in the wake of that trouble.
For example, one tweet in wide circulation: “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,” writes Mat Johnson.
Facebook’s response is that everything is above-board because people opt-in to such sharing—for example, by being asked whether they want to share their contact information in the name of improving the friend-search function.
“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,” says a spokesperson. “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.”
Still many users have been surprised by just how much data Facebook has on them, reports Ars Technica. Facebook says the data is secure and not sold to third parties, but the company’s blog post “doesn’t address why it would be necessary to retain not just the numbers of contacts from phone calls and SMS messages, but the date, time, and length of those calls for years,” writes Sean Gallagher.
Forbes explains how to download your own Facebook data, starting (on a desktop) with “Settings > General > ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data.'” (Facebook is saying sorry over Cambridge Analytica in unique fashion.)