The more news comes of how Facebook invaded user privacy, the more people quit the forum. Facebook recently came forward with the news that it began logging the text messages and phone calls of its users before it explicitly notified them of its practice. This is in contradiction to the company’s earlier claims that “uploading this information has always been opt-in only”.
In at least one previous version of the Messenger app, Facebook only told users that the setting would enable them to “send and receive SMS in Messenger”, and presented the option to users without an obvious way to opt out: the prompt offered a big blue button reading “OK”, and a much smaller grey link to “settings”.
Nowhere in the opt-in dialogue was it made clear that text histories would be uploaded to Facebook’s servers and stored indefinitely
Other users have similarly disputed ever seeing explicit notification from Facebook that their communication logs would be uploaded. Sean Gallagher, a writer for Ars Technica, had never installed Messenger, and maintains that “there was never an explicit message requesting access to phone call and SMS data” in any version of Facebook he installed, yet discovered that his call metadata had been uploaded.
Last week, some Facebook users who were prompted to download their data in advance of deleting their accounts were shocked to find that they contained detailed logs of all calls and SMS messages they had sent with their phones, even if they didn’t use Facebook applications to make or receive phone calls or texts.
In response, Facebook issued a “Fact Check”, in which the company repeatedly noted “people have to expressly agree to use this feature” and “uploading this information has always been opt-in only”. But the vast majority of the post is written in the present tense, and the example disclaimer Facebook posts – which does explicitly say the app will “continuously upload … your call and text history” – was only introduced in 2016, a year after the feature was initially introduced.
The “Fact Check” did not acknowledge that in the past, different notification screens have been used, including ones that did not warn users that call and text history would be uploaded.
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