Facebook Confirms It Records Call & SMS Details
On Monday Facebook confirmed that its Facebook and Messenger apps collect details on the calls a user makes an SMS that is sent through a phone. The company says that it does so after seeking explicit confirmation for it from users. It is important for users to know what means, permission or without permission- when allowed, it means Facebook collects details of every call you make and every SMS you send and then sends these details to Facebook servers where they are stored.
There is no perfect reason behind it but the company says that it wants this data to improve user experience, but that argument seems very thin. There are tens of other things that Facebook can do to improve user experience instead of collecting call and SMS records. It’s not the kind of data that improves user experience. It is the kind of data that helps Facebook build a more through 36-degree user profile.
Facebook says in its statement, “Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about and provides you with a better experience across Facebook… Contact importers are fairly common among social apps and services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with.”
This statement is a clever way of avoiding a more important question: Why Facebook needs to record call and SMS details. The company does this to fulfill its needs, which is to know who are the people in your contact book so that it can create friendship links. But then it needs to stop at the contacts. But facebook is not stopping there. It is also logging details of calls you make and SMS you send.
But the real reason is probably more complex, Facebook is recording the call and SMS details to get more information on you, which it can then use to build a better profile for you. It probably just doesn’t want to know who are your friends but also who are your best friends. It wants to know who you talk to more frequently or message more frequently to understand your friendship network at a more profound level. Facebook also wants your call and SMS details because it may help it with the ad network. If it knows that you are talking to your local furniture seller (the phone number of furniture is publicly available) then it may show you more furniture ads. We don’t know if it indeed works like this, but there is no reason to doubt that it doesn’t.
HOW FACEBOOK RECORDS CALLS AND SMS DETAILS:
The technical details are still not clear but in its statement on Monday, it did say a few things, that the feature that records calls and SMS details is only inside the Messenger and Facebook Lite apps. And that it works only after users have given permission.
“When you sign up for Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android or log into Messenger on an Android device, you are given the option to continuously upload your contacts as well as your call and text history. For Messenger, you can either turn it on, choose ‘learn more’ or ‘not now’. On Facebook Lite, the options are to turn it on or ‘skip”, Facebook said. The problem with this statement is that people who have never used Messenger and Facebook Lite have also reported seeing the call and SMS details in the data that Facebook has allegedly collected from them.
It is not entirely clear how Facebook is collecting details of calls and SMS users make. It’s the word of users vs the word of Facebook. It is up to you who you are going to believe.
HOW TO TURN OFF FACEBOOK RECORDING CALL AND SMS DETAILS :
Facebook has explained how it collects this data with Messenger and Facebook Lite and it also tells people what they can do if they don’t want this data collected.
The first thing to avoid giving Facebook your call and SMS details is to deny the Facebook apps access to your contacts when you are installing these apps.
The second way is to turn off the permission from Facebook settings, the process is –
On Facebook Messenger: At first, Go to settings> People> Turn off Contact Sync. To delete previously uploaded contacts, go to this page, log into your account and delete contacts.
On Facebook Lite: Go to Settings > Turn off Continuous Contacts Upload and also turn off Sync Your Call and Text History.
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