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Facebook Android Communications Handhelds Privacy Social Networks Software

Why Does Facebook Need To Read My Text Messages? 293

Posted by timothy
from the is-facebook-played-by-scarlett-johansson? dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "Facebook updates its Android app quite a lot, but the latest version asks for some rather odd permissions. Rolling out in the UK this week, some users have noticed that it now wants permission to read your text messages. While most suspected Facebook wanted to access the data to try and serve you more targeted ads, Facebook says it is only so it can facilitate two-factor authentication...apparently."
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Why Does Facebook Need To Read My Text Messages?

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  • by lesincompetent (2836253) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:00PM (#46092261)
    Uninstalled the app, started using FB via browser. For my low intensity usage it's still perfect. Also links to click and youtube embeds work seamlessly now.
    Got no messenger installed too.
  • SMS Integration (Score:4, Informative)

    by ottothecow (600101) <> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:02PM (#46092297) Homepage
    They want to be able to view your messages, so that they can do the same thing google is doing with Hangouts:

    Put both your SMS and your Instant messaging in the same app (just pushing facebook chat over hangout chat).

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:07PM (#46092339) Homepage
    As soon as I saw this I uninstalled Facebook as well. My battery life has improved a bit. Also recently uninstalled Google Talk (now called "Hangouts (Replaces Google Talk)") because it started asking for access to my text messages as well. I've noticed a lot of apps asking for increased privileges lately. I usually uninstall them if it's something I don't really need. I wonder if the developers get statistics about number of people who uninstalled the app?
  • Re:Obvious answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:08PM (#46092359)

    I believe Zuckerberg refers to users as 'dumb fucks' []

  • by hacker (14635) <> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:14PM (#46092415)

    You don't need to use the Facebook app on your phone, you can use the mobile version of the website, or if you're using Android (as is the case with the OP's gripe), you can use Tinfoil for Facebook [].

    Remember to uninstall Facebook as an app and from ROM including the SNS service (not a typo), to completely rid your handset of that mess.

    If you don't want to do that, use Orbot [] and the mobile site over Tor using the Orweb Privacy Browser [].

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:17PM (#46092453) Journal
    1) Go to "Account Settings"
    2) Press "Deactivate you account"
    3) Get an effin' life.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:18PM (#46092461)

    We can't?

    Facebook didn't get any kind of information from me. Take a wild guess how I accomplished this feat.

    Hint: They can't exist without us. We can exist just fine without them.

  • by asavage (548758) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:18PM (#46092467)
    Google hangouts wants to read your text messages as it is the default text message app for kitkat.
  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:40PM (#46092701) Homepage

    Well Android does offer more way more granularity than iOS. I think iOS is nicer in the way it will prompt for a couple of the permissions. That said, iOS can't do many of the things android can, so it's not really an apples to apples comparison.

    Facebook can't read your texts on iOS because it's not possible. My app doesn't require a permission to access network state on iOS because my app can't change it anyway.

    It's easy to do security by simply stopping developers from being able to do things. Of course you just have to trust that Apple is doing all your security properly since there's no way to validate that fact.

  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:41PM (#46092717) Homepage

    iOS has solved the problem of security in text messaging apps? In apps that allow innovative network access methods?

    Oh right. They haven't solved it, they just don't allow those apps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:57PM (#46092949)

    The combination of Android Permission Manager [], DroidWall [] and LBE Security Master [] have made things much easier to block, delete, drop packets, deny and forbid services from trying to use unnecessary permissions.

    Dear members, please remember that installing closed source software as root will automatically voids your paranoid member card.

    Permission Manager and LBE Security Master are both closed source, and need root to run. Not acceptable.
    Bonus points, LBE's home page is in chinese, no offense intended, just paranoid.

    On the other hand, Xprivacy does the same job and is GPL'd.
    By the way, Droidwall is severely outdated, you might consider trying its (open source) successor / fork, AFWall +

    Being paranoid is a full time job !

  • by Theovon (109752) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:12PM (#46093119)

    I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. Facebook’s primary source of revenue is ads. Just like Google. They increases the probability that you’ll click on one by examining every last bit of your data that goes through their system. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell.

    It amazes me that people are surprised by this.

    Don’t put anything on the internet that you don’t want Facebook, Google, the NSA, and every one else looking at. If you store something encrypted on the internet, there’s a chance someone will hack it and get your data anyway. NOTHING IS PRIVATE ON THE INTERNET. Yes, I have a Facebook account, which I use rarely to connect with friends and family. I don’t talk about anything sensitive, and I don’t publish any information that isn’t the sort of thing I would be embarrassed to appear on my LinkedIn profile, which is something I WANT people to see.

    The key here isn’t to to complain about Facebook’s policies. That isn’t going to change because 99% of people just accept them anyway. The key is to avoid those services if you object to them. There are many other things in life that make you become publically visible, not limited by any means fo Facebook. Perhaps you want to avoid those too. Good. If ultimately the majority of people decide they don’t like being probed like this, perhaps Facebook will chance. But probably not because they’ll still have a billion users.

    Some really stupid picture of you getting drunk from 5 years ago is still on the Internet somewhere, and employers WILL find it. I think this is awesome. In this economic environment, I’m very glad to have more ways that people remove themselves from competition with me when I’m looking for a job. Some people just don’t do really stupid things, while others are forward-looking enough to keep them from getting published. Either way, those are the sorts of people I want to hire in preference to jackasses who think it’s funny to show everyone how stupid they are.

  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:19PM (#46093201) Homepage

    Because a third party text messaging app could be much better than the one built into your phone? Because a third party app could offer you mesh networking, tethering with multiple SIDs and VLAN isolation, etc.

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @05:56PM (#46094915)

    Also, you can do what I did, which was just create a shortcut to the mobile facebook website and place it on your homescreen. You get a nice looking icon that says "Facebook" under it, as if it were an actual app.

    Yeah, the app was "better," but at least I don't have to worry about what it's leaching from my phone (and consequently, hurting battery life/usng data)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:27PM (#46095751)

    So that you can type your friend's name into the Maps search bar and get directions to their house.

  • Re:Obvious answer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @08:20PM (#46096057)

    They don't. I revoke that permission on my phone, as well as full access to call logs, and the app still works just fine. Next task is to figure out what combination of location permissions I can revoke.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell