Facebook’s Violation Of Our Privacy Also Affects Android Users

Facebook data breach hits Android users

It has come to light that if you have the Facebook Messenger installed on your Android device, there’s a fair chance that the social media giant has been collecting contacts, SMS and call history data until at least last year.

According to a recent article on BullGuard‘s blog:

This discovery was made by a New Zealand-based programmer who downloaded a ZIP file from Facebook and much to his surprise discovered it included complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls, SMS messages and contacts.

Why affect Android?

The problem is, Google’s Android is an ‘open’ platform. This means companies and developers can tweak the operating system to meet their own needs.

Initially, Android API permissions weren’t very strict. So, in older versions of Android, the Facebook app took away contact permission at the time of installation. As a result, it was allowed to access call and message data automatically.

Eventually, Google changed the way Android permissions worked. But third-party developers like Facebook were able to bypass this change. As a result, it continued accessing call and SMS data until Google released a new version of the Android API in October last year.

How to stop Facebook’s data gathering

The easiest way to spoil Facebook’s party is to turn off the continuous uploading setting in the Facebook Messenger app. Just remember though that this change will also delete all your previously uploaded contacts.

Just in case you were wondering why Apple’s users aren’t affected, it’s because Apple’s iOS has never allowed silent access to call data.

If you’re concerned about what data Facebook holds about you, BullGuard offer this advice:

  • Go to the arrow at the top right hand side of your Facebook home page.
  • Click on this and then scroll down and click on Settings
  • This will take you to General Account Settings
  • Beneath your settings information you will see Download a copy of your Facebook data
  • Click on this and it will take you through to a page where you will see a green button and Download Archive
  • Click on this and the data will download though you have to add in your password to a pop-up box before the process starts
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