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Facebook denies it collected phone call, SMS, data, despite reports in the media

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Despite media reports to the contrary, including one with multiple screenshots where the data is displayed in detail, Facebook is the denial of the collected telephone calls and messages from the history in a secret way.

In a blog post on March 25, Facebook said that the registration of the call and the text of the history on Facebook Lite and Facebook Messenger on Android devices, is an “opt-in feature, allowing users to search for and stay connected with friends. The company said that users must “explicitly agree with the use of the function.”

“If, at any time, that they no longer wish to make use of this feature they can turn it off in the settings, or here for the Facebook Lite users, and all previously shared call and sms history shared through that app is deleted,” Facebook wrote in the post. “While we receive certain rights of Android, the upload of this information is always opt-in.”

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The blog post follows a number of media reports, including one from the tech website Ars Technica that details several examples in which Facebook metrics, such as the length of a call, who it was done, and whether it is an incoming or outgoing call.

In the story, New Zealand Facebook user Dylan McKay downloaded Facebook data as a Zip file and discovered the findings. He says that he is against the website that he installed Messenger in 2015, but only gave it the permissions that the Android version of the app needs to be installed. He claims that he removed and reinstalled the app several times since then, but did not give you permission to read his messages and calls.

The story of the author, Sean Gallagher, noted that, although the data collection is technically an “opt-in” is the default setting for Facebook’s app and not a separate notice. It also did not reveal that the data are collected.

“In my case, a review of my Google Play data confirms that the Messenger was never installed on the Android devices I used,” Gallagher wrote. “Facebook is installed on a Nexus tablet and on the Blackphone 2 in 2015, and there was never an explicit message, a request for access to the telephone and SMS data. However, there is data from the end of 2015 end of 2016, when I re-install the operating system on the Blackphone 2 and wiped all applications.”

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The Ars Technica article adds that Facebook started to explicitly ask permission for Messenger and Facebook Lite users access to their SMS and call data to “friends find each other” ‒ after a call in 2016 about the way it handled the collection of the data.

Original post not to mention collect of SMS and call data, but just an “OK” button to allow users to keep all of their SMS messages in one place.

In the retort, Facebook was convinced that it not sell the data to third parties and will be stored “safely.”

“Your information is stored securely and we will not sell this information to third parties,” Facebook added in the post. “You are always in control of the information that you share with Facebook.”

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Facebook under fire

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company, under intensive control in the past few weeks, especially for the way in which this is handled by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Over the weekend, Zuckerberg has full-page ads in the newspaper in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The U. K. ‘ s The Observer, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph to apologize and offer an explanation of what his company did to resolve the situation.

“We have a responsibility to protect your information,” the ad begins. “If we can’t, that we do not deserve.”

Facebook, which along with Google dominates the online advertising industry has attracted intensive scrutiny of lawmakers and other tech execs, including Apple’s Tim Cook, who have called it to be dealt with, something Zuckerberg said last week, makes sense if done properly. “I’m actually not sure that we would not need to be arranged,” Zuckerberg told CNN in a pre-recorded interview.”

Lawmakers have also asked Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on the Cambridge Analytica mess, something he said he would be open.

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and Christopher Carbone contributed to this story. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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