Facebook accused of snooping texts of Android users; denies

A report in Sunday Times ( the report's behind a paywall) first carried a report accusing Facebook of text snooping; when the latter, reportedly admitted to reading text messages; albeit during a trial phase, before launching its own messaging service, of users who downloaded the Android app for Facebook. Now, however, CNET reports that Facebook is fighting these allegations leveled against it, calling them false and misleading. Quoting Facebook, the report stated that, "Facebook is currently running a limited test of mobile features which integrate with SMS functionality. SMS read/write is not currently implemented for most users of the mobile app. As part of this test, we declared the presence of that functionality within our app store permissions starting with the 1.7 version of our application. If Facebook ultimately launches any feature that makes use of these permissions, we will ensure that this is accompanied by appropriate guidance/educational materials.

More transparent privacy policy demanded in Europe




Reportedly, the permission stated for the Facebook app, in the Android app store, includes SMS read/write. Facebook, in its clarification confirmed that the permission exists because "it has performed some testing of products that require short message service to communicate with the Facebook app. But Facebook says it hasn't made any such features available to the public." Facebook, has on its part, therefore added that considering that Facebook isn't accessing user text message, and have not made the feature public, only means that the report is "Wrong on the terminology, and wrong on the suggestion that it has been implemented."


This instance is a grim reminder of Path, a social networking application that was in the news off late, for having stored the address books of iOS users; an allegation, which it accepted and apologized for. 

Published Date: Feb 27, 2012 01:05 pm | Updated Date: Feb 27, 2012 01:05 pm