Saturday , 22 September 2018
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Facebook’s data debacle is a wake-up call for Android users

Whew. This whole Facebook data mess sure is spiraling into quite the fiasco, isn’t it?

Seems every day lately, there’s some new shocking twist to how everyone’s personal data was used (and abused) without their knowledge. While much of the issue revolves around Facebook itself and practices that are out of our control, there’s an angle that ties in directly to Android — and it’s one that’s important to think through, whether you use Facebook or not.

I’m talking about the recent revelation, amidst everything else, that Facebook was keeping long-term logs of all calls and messages made on Android phones with its Messenger and Facebook Lite apps in place. Facebook now says it’s scaled back its collection of such data, but the very fact that the company was accessing and storing that much personal info — often from users who were oblivious to the fact that anything of that nature was going on — is certainly eye-opening, to say the least.

As the wise scribes over at Android Central explain, Facebook wasn’t technically doing anything wrong with this action; it was simply taking advantage of Android’s older, pre-2015 permissions model, which presented users with a sprawling list of take-’em-or-leave-’em permissions every time a new app was installed. The newer setup — introduced with 2015’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow release (though apparently used by Facebook only since mid-last-year, as noted by the AC crew) — presents permissions on a case by case basis as an app needs them and then lets you accept or deny individual permissions as you see fit.

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