A new privacy scandal is now on Facebook’s hands barely two weeks after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This time, the social media giant is being accused of storing phone call and text logs from some of its users who have been using Facebook’s Android app. According to several users who had requested personal data archives from the company, Facebook had actually stored information about whom they had been calling and texting.
However, it’s important to note that this archive didn’t include any phone call recordings or storage of actual text messages. It stored records of whom users called and texted using the Android app. The data goes back months too. Facebook was quick to respond to the issue saying that the app hasn’t done anything without users’ permission.
But experts say that it’s possible that Facebook users never gave any permission to the app to access or store call and text logs. Ars Technica says that older versions of the Android operating system actually allow apps to have access to text and phone call logs when users only give permission to access contacts. It’s possible that Facebook thought that users were giving permission to access call and message logs on their phones.
Despite the lack of clear evidence on whether Facebook is at fault this time, there’s no doubt that the scandal couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now that the social media giant is already engulfed in a massive data bridge scandal involving UK data firm Cambridge Analytica, any hint of privacy breach no matter how untrue it is will raise a lot of concerns among Facebook users.
In addition to this, the public backlash after the Cambridge Analytica scandal was massive. Many Facebook users have even deleted their account while lawmakers are pushing for more regulation on the social media platform. The company’s stock has also tumbled ever since the story broke. It’s been a PR nightmare for Facebook and the last thing the company needs right now is another negative headline.
This could be devastating for Facebook. Confidence levels are at an all-time low among Facebook users and it will take a lot to regain their trust. Such headlines will not help the situation. Nonetheless, Facebook has been dealing with privacy issues for a very long time now. Although the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the one that grabbed the public attention the most, the company has long known that it was just a matter of time before this happened.
For instance, Facebook knew in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had inappropriately accessed and used Facebook data yet the way the social media giant responded to this issue left out a lot to be desired. In this new scandal, the company has never publicly notified users that it’s accessing their call and message logs.