Facebook May Be Logging Your Calls, Texts And Contacts

The fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues

Mark Zuckerberg, facebook

Photo: Justin Sullivan

Facebook is still one of the most-visited websites in the world (and one of the most-downloaded apps, too), but it’s really not been a good week for Mark Zuckerberg‘s company.

The company’s share price has suffered a serious dip after the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, and there have been campaigns and calls around the world for people to delete Facebook in response.

Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook made mistakes, but now people are looking more closely at the data their devices are sharing with the company, and some of them aren’t happy.

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Facebook does allow you to download a file of the information it’s been tracking, and depending on your settings, it could be a lot more than you may think.

“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” said author Mat Johnson.

“Download your Facebook account .zip off their site, unzip it, then go to the HTML folder, open the contact_info.htm file.

“See records of who you’ve talked to on your cell—not with the app, just on your regular cellphone—and for how long.”

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“I’ve just looked at the data files I requested from Facebook and they had every single phone number in my contacts,” said author Emma Kennedy.

“They had every single social event I went to, a list of all my friends (and their birthdays) and a list of every text I’ve sent.”

She added: “They have plundered my phone. They have phone numbers of people who aren’t on Facebook.

“They have phone numbers of household names who, I’m sure, would be furious to know their phone numbers are accessible. I’m appalled.”

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Facebook has explained just why a social media app might want to be tracking all that stuff you’re doing outside of its own apps.

“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,” said the company in a statement.

“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.”

It continued: “Contact uploading is optional. People are expressly asked if they want to give permission to upload their contacts from their phone – it’s explained right there in the apps when you get started.

“People can delete previously uploaded information at any time and can find all the information available to them in their account and activity log from our Download Your Information tool.”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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