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Facebook Denies Accessing Users' Text Messages 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-was-the-other-guys dept.
quantr writes "Facebook is being accused of snooping on its users' text messages, but the social network says the accusations are inaccurate and misleading. The company is among a wide-ranging group of Web entities, including Flickr and YouTube, that are using smartphone apps to access text message data and other personal information, according to a Sunday Times report (behind a paywall). The newspaper said Facebook 'admitted' to reading users' text messages during a test of its own messaging service. The report also says information such as user location, contacts list, and browser history are often accessed and sometimes transmitted to third-party companies, including advertisers."
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Facebook Denies Accessing Users' Text Messages

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  • by mr1911 (1942298) on Monday February 27, 2012 @10:44AM (#39172325)
    Facebook is a free service. Facebook users and their data are the commodity being sold to advertisers. The business model isn't a secret.

    There are two ways to grow revenue with this model. 1) Sign up more users. 2) Invade deeper into the user data so the data sold to advertisers is more relevant and worth more.
  • Smartphones (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Monday February 27, 2012 @10:50AM (#39172377)
    I wish I didn't install their app on my HTC ages ago. It's off now; but it did get the contact data from the phone! I only use the browser for FB now and no way am I installing that Malware again. - Events details locked in FB are a pain.
  • Re:Worst? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2012 @10:51AM (#39172395)

    The fact that any old app can apparently access your contacts, text messages and browser history.

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday February 27, 2012 @10:56AM (#39172441) Journal

    Because there is the idea that what you enter into one app on your phone is not available to another app.
    If I accept the "terms of use" for facebook, I do not also consent to having them go through my text messages.
    When I turn off location services for facebook I do not expect them to still access my location.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:00AM (#39172475)
    People are surprised because this is a cell phone app reading data that is irrelevant to the app's function. It would be like if Google had a picture editing program that sent google a snapshot of your entire filesystem directory listings. Surprising.
  • Re:Worst? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpotoso (606303) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:02AM (#39172491) Journal
    Mod parent up. It is really a very big design flaw (on purpose?) of ios and android. Should not be up to the apps to decide whether they can access private data.
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:06AM (#39172559) Journal

    I think I should be able to go in and modify any app's permissions after the fact. The "accept permissions" button should only set those requested permissions as default, then I should have an app that can revoke them. Currently the app developer gets all the power because people don't know what the permissions tie to and how they actually get used/abused. Such an ability would make app authors think twice...

  • Re:Worst? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:15AM (#39172655)

    With Android, for each app you have to specifically grant access to these things while installing the app.

    And that is the flaw. The right way of doing it is to let the user grant apps rights to individual resources, possibly temporarily.

  • Re:Worst? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilRhino (638506) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:29AM (#39172795)
    Since android is open source, there are ROMs that actually add this functionality to the OS. It was available on Cyanogenmod 7.1.0, for example.
  • Re:Worst? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:35AM (#39172875) Journal
    The problem is, with the stock android install unlike, for example, Symbian, you can't just say 'no, the app can't have this permission but install it anyway'. I was looking for an app to read QR codes a while ago. The first five I found on the market all required full access to my address book. WTF? I skipped installing them, but I'm sure that they'd have worked without this capability. The other big UI problem is that the apps don't say WHY they need these privileges.

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