Are Facebook reading Android user's texts or not?

27 February 2012

Bitterwallet - Facebook logoAndroid phone owners may have been a little worried that Facebook are reading all their texts after The Sunday Times made a bunch of allegations about them. Allegations that Facebook are denying, for the record. Okay lawyers? Now go away.

What kicked the debate off is that, when you agree to download the FB app, there is an agreement in place that permits the company to "read SMS messages stored on your phone or SIM card".

Zuckerberg's company denies this, saying that app's ability to access text messages is open and transparent and that they're not looking at text messages at all.

“The Sunday Times has done some creative conspiracy theorising," the rep said in a statement: "The suggestion that we're secretly reading people texts is ridiculous. Instead, the permission is clearly disclosed on the app page in the Android marketplace and is in anticipation of new features that enable users to integrate Facebook features with their reading and sending of texts."

Facebook concede that its app does have the permission to read, send and edit text messages in a user's phone, but it isn't something they want to do, saying that they've been using the feature to a "limited" extent to road-test a messaging service.

This comes on the back of more claims from The Sunday Times who noted that the YouTube app on Android was capable of remotely accessing and operating users' smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time. Sounds like Google have got some questions that need answering.

TOPICS:   Technology   Social Media   Privacy   Mobile   Best Of Youtube


  • Chris
    It's a pretty spectacular bit of sensationalising to be honest... The youtube app has access to the camera so that you can take video and upload it directly from the app! All of the so called 'data-harvesting' permissions that they pinpoint are disclosed to the user when they install the app, and most are used for functions of the app. It's a damn sight more transparent than the Apple App Store, that's for sure. It's a fairly lazy bit of reporting by someone who does not fully understand the Android permissions system.
  • Chris
    Lazy reporting and sensationalising by the Sunday Times that is.
  • Mienaikage
    I'm using LBE Privacy Guard and so far I haven't seen it make any effort to access my texts. Still constantly begs for access to my contact list though.
  • Alexis
    It doesn't really answer why they ask for permission (ie. tell you they will) in the T&Cs though
  • Hugh R.
    People still use Facebook? Frankly you deserve everything you get.
  • Kevin
    @Alexis as they say, to allow future changes to work seamlessly.
  • Cheesey
    Who cares? My texts range from: "Get 2 pints of milk and a loaf of bread" to "Get your glad rags on, and be ready for Mr Sausage in your Hot Roll" If they want to know about that stuff then they are welcome to it.
  • bob
    Google are scum. I have stopped using my crappy android phone as it is a spying/advertising tool for google just like their search engine.
  • g
    facebook has scanned my mac and read my mail, i know that 100%. i emailed this dude who lives in Hawaii a few years ago, multiple emails back and forth, waaaay before i joined facebook, never texted the guy nor has he appeared in my address book, only ever in my email history, and i logged into facebook one day and there he was on the right hand side saying 'people you may know'. facebook is fucking scum, but i'll still use it to stalk trim
  • Frank P.
    Facebook is for losers, nerds and geeks. You would be better off being more productive with your time like having a nice game of Dungeons and Dragons or making a replica of the Starship Enterprise using old sandals and jif bottles.
  • Dick
    > Facebook is for losers, nerds and geeks. I consider myself a nerd and a bit of a geek. But I don't use facebook. Nerds and geeks know how shit facebook is. It is mainly losers that use it.
  • Sawyer
    @g It's possible that he used the "Friend Finder" feature, giving it permission to scan his email account for past email contacts who are also on Facebook. Given that you're not friends, as such, he chose not to send you a request but Facebook thinks you still might be linked anyway. Most logical explanation, I'd say.
  • Mike H.
    facebook don't need to read 'txts' to know what a bunch of cunts they are, I could've told them that.

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