Facebook for years has been collecting data taken from Android user’s phone calls and text messages, according to a new report from Ars Technica.
The revelations came after a New Zealand man downloaded his profile data from the site. The man found that his download included his Facebook profile information, as well as two years of phone records.
The information scraping has become a major scandal for Facebook, even prompting CEO Mark Zuckerberg to widely apologize to users for the “breach of trust” and promise that changes are underway.
But what many users don’t realize is that Facebook actually asks for permission to use that data. It’s part of the way the platform fills the “People You May Know” feature—by accessing users’ phone contact data.
You can download your Facebook data by going to your Facebook account’s ‘Settings’ > ‘General Account Settings’ > ‘Download a Copy of Your Facebook Data.’
To turn off Facebook Messenger’s access to phone contacts:
From Home, tap your profile picture in the top right corner
Synced Contacts to turn this setting on or off
For iPhone or iPad:
From Home, tap your profile picture in the top left corner
Tap Synced Contacts to turn this setting on or off
Facebook has stressed that the company does not sell contact data. The site also underscored the fact that it does not log content of user’s text messages or phone calls.
Many users find that hard to believe or no longer trust Facebook.
Zuckerberg recently took out adds in major U.S. and U.K. publications, apologizing for the data collection and promising “to do better” for users.
He added that Facebook has “a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”
More than a few users agree, and won’t be logging back into their accounts anytime soon.