[Update, March 25, 2018, 20:24 Eastern Time]: Facebook has responded to this and other reports regarding the collection of call and SMS data with a blog post that denies Facebook collected call data surreptitiously. The company also writes that it never sells the data and that users are in control of the data uploaded to Facebook. This “fact check” contradicts several details Ars found in analysis of Facebook data downloads and testimony from users who provided the data. More on the Facebook response is appended to the end of the original article below.
This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.
Downloaded my facebook data as a ZIP file
Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner’s mum pic.twitter.com/CIRUguf4vD
— Dylan McKay (@dylanmckaynz) March 21, 2018
This experience has been shared by a number of other Facebook users who spoke with Ars, as well as independently by us—my own Facebook data archive, I found, contained call-log data for a certain Android device I used in 2015 and 2016, along with SMS and MMS message metadata.
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