It seems like just yesterday that Facebook was forced to fess up to a data breach involving 50 million US user accounts. (Actually, it was Sunday.) Today’s scandal hits closer to home. Like your back pocket.
Facebook, it was reported today, has been spying on your phone activity for years. Not just calls placed through Messenger. All calls made through your mobile, via your regular phone carrier.
Duration and times of calls and text messages. Identity of callers. It’s all there - even down to missed calls.
The data-mining was discovered by users who wanted to delete their accounts but save their archived data.
It seems only Android devices using the Messenger and Facebook Lite apps are affected - which translates to as many as one in three Australians.
In a statement, Facebook has insisted that the information “is securely stored and we do not sell this information to third parties.” It declined to comment on why it needed to access users’ call history.
The Federal Trade Commission will launch an investigation into the network’s privacy practice.
To see if you’ve been affected, go to Settings < Download My Archive. After downloading your archive, open the folder, click ‘HTML’ and then ‘contact_info’.
The data-collecting feature can be disabled by turning off the ‘Synced contacts’ option in Messenger’s menus.
Know what your options are when you use social media. And be sure your kids know too. Share this story with them if you’ve been looking for a conversation-starter about privacy and social media. To learn more about protecting your family online, visit us at Familyzone.com.