Facebook Admits to Using SMS and Call Log Data from Messenger: How to Stop it?

Facebook despite being surrounded in a lot of controversy made another shocking revelation. The Social Network giant admitted to collecting users’ data from their Messenger app and also via the SMS that are sent through a user’s phones. Although, in such cases, the usual go-to reason for collecting data is the fact that it is done so only after getting explicit permission from the user. But it is noteworthy that a service like messaging which is considered to be one of the most private and secure form of communication is being watched over and collected by an organisation as big as Facebook.

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Facebook’s explanation for the same says that the collected information is kept securely on their servers and is used to improve the user experience within the app. The data which is collected is the reason that Facebook is able to know user’s modus operandi and thus develop apps which are more fir for them.

However, most people have been able to look past these claims and realise that although a tiny fraction of that data is used to tweak the app for user experience, it is entirely possible that the same information is used to build a more robust and well-rounded profile for everyone on the platform which includes the people they network with, their usage of language, shopping patterns and interests.

Facebook in their official statement said the following about their activity “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.”

Mark Zuckerberg led company says that contact importer apps are widely known to the users for a long time, and we definitely agree. But the fact which has come off as the most disturbing one is the statement which reveals that Facebook doesn’t only stop at importing contacts and syncing them to enable users to connect with them on Messenger, but they also log the calls that a user makes, whom we interact with most and also other messaging patterns.

This although has been a hidden fact for quite some time, but in light of recent developments, this might surely feel like a breach of privacy in user’s life. Like we’ve said before, the reason Facebook does this is possibly due to the fact that having more data on someone’s life helps them build an extensively informative profile, which in turns serves as a very appropriate platform for advertisers as now adverts can be delivered with high precision and interest.

Even though Facebook claims that they have been using this data to improve user experience, we cannot deny the fact if Facebook considers showing us ads related to our interests as part of improving our Facebook browsing experience. This is a thing to be really concerned about. Especially after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, many people have been wary about the permissions which they have granted to the Facebook and Messenger app, which of course are an obnoxious amount. Therefore, we have come up with this article to help you understand the situation of your privacy on the Messenger and Facebook app in a better way and also to inform you of the ways in which you can stop Facebook from accessing your contacts, Calls and SMS related data.

The way that these apps are allowed permission is very subtle and happens right from the beginning, right after the installation. When users sign in to the Messenger app, the app intimidates the users about asking permission to access contacts and to sync it. However, there is also a ‘skip’ option which comes up as ‘Not now’ when the users are asked for permission.

Thankfully, Facebook has come up with a solution for this, where people can stop the uploading of their data and messages to the Facebook servers and avoid the collection of call logs and their messaging patterns. In the Facebook Messenger app, it can be done by going to the ‘People’ tab on the settings menu and then tapping on the ‘Turn Off Sync’ and toggling it off. On the Facebook Lite app, it can be done by directly going to the Settings and by tapping on ‘Turn off Continuous Contacts Upload’. Also, people can tap on ‘Sync Your Call and Text History’, to further protect their data in its entirety.

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9 Comments on "Facebook Admits to Using SMS and Call Log Data from Messenger: How to Stop it?"

 

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Divesh
March 28, 2018 4:25 pm 4:25 PM

In india people who are more concerned for their aadhar data privacy and accusing gov for spying them. same people knowly give their data to companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, True caller, they spy and know more about us than our government knows. Apple is spy of US gov first they collected finger print then iris then face recognition on the name of new features for unlocking ur device, now many people will say apple refuse to give user data to US gov. no one knows behind the scene things

Rinu
March 29, 2018 9:07 pm 9:07 PM

In India, people are more concerned for their aadhar data privacy and accusing gov for spying them because that is what affects almost all people and not Google or Apple or Facebook or True caller.

Prithvi
March 27, 2018 9:14 pm 9:14 PM

Delete Account. That’s it!

Girish Gowda | BengaLuru
March 27, 2018 5:55 pm 5:55 PM

Facebook is a monster which is growing out of control. Big corporations like Facebook, Apple, Google, etc are wielding more power than entire nations. This is a huge disaster waiting to happen.
I have always denied any permission which isn’t needed by any app right as soon as I install that app. But most people don’t care about this stuff and let these aholes collect their private stuff without even knowing about it. We need strong laws and even stronger actual punishments to keep these corporations in check.

dragonmonk
March 27, 2018 10:15 pm 10:15 PM

@GG For once, I whole heartedly agree with what you have written!

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