Facebook explains why they want access to your SMS

January 28, 2014

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In a recent update, Facebook gained the ability to read your text messages. For a company that has a checkered past with regard to the privacy of information, it raised eyebrows. Was Facebook trying to pry deeper into your device to force ads upon you? The explanation from Facebook points to a really simple solution.

Via their Facebook Mobile Apps page, the social media giant has outlined their reasons for needing access to your SMS messages. According tot he post, they want to look in your text messages for a confirmation code they’d send for verifying info. Essentially, Facebook wants to make things like sign-up easier on the end user.

The sensationalism comes from Android permission notifications, really. By giving us the headline with no context, we’re left to come up with all kinds of reasons why something of this nature would be bad. Let’s also be honest that for many of us, Facebook is not to be trusted. They’ve made huge mistakes in the past with safeguarding info, so why would we give them access to something as potentially personal as text messages?

If for ease of use, then this situation was really one that needed further instruction — and we got it. There is no reason to think anything strange is going on, but that doesn’t mean things will remain this way. Now that we’ve given them a pass on access, they could end up taking liberties we didn’t want in the first place — just like with making private Timeline info public, or any of the other blunders they’ve wronged us with in the past.
VIA: TechCrunch

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  • Sabil V

    wow, i’m on beta tester too, and yes since that , I never use facebook anymore.

  • maysider

    only a very st*pid person would install Facebook app (mostly iPhone users) requiring so a huge amount of permissions aside from “facebook selling raw data”

    if you have Android 4.3, you can use “permission manager” and forbid almost everything = works good
    Don’t install it on Android 4.4 or iPhone = huge privacy threat

    • R.Jensen

      Are you saying iphones owners are stupidere that Android users?

      • maysider

        I just say the facts:
        1) not much educated people (with a lot of ignorance) install the Facebook app in general
        2) the Facebook app is most spread on iPhones

        3) when you compare iPhone or Android users you have to compare people with the same price level phone

      • R.Jensen

        Could you link to where you get this fact.

        only a very st*pid person would install Facebook app (mostly iPhone users)….

        If the rest of the sentence are importen important feel free to include it.

      • maysider

        “The iPhone Is The Most Social Device — Its Users Share Content More Than Those On Android Or PCs”

      • R.Jensen

        I dont understand? why are your stament in apostrophe, is it a quote? And how do that say anything about the intelligence of the user.

      • maysider

        Repetition just for you:
        only a very st*pid person would install Facebook app (mostly iPhone users) requiring so a huge amount of permissions aside from “facebook selling raw data”

        Still don’t get it?

      • R.Jensen

        And how do you get the person installing facebooks app are dumber then the person who dont have it installed.

      • maysider

        Like a person who puts a gun to his head = also a clever person for you? 🙂

  • Kaspersky Lab

    Kaspersky Principal Security Researcher David Emm had this to say about the recent changes to Facebook’s permissions:
    “Facebook’s updated Android app requires permission to read your SMS and MMS messages. It would seem that this is needed to implement two-factor authentication on the device – in the words of one of their engineers, ‘so we can automatically intercept login approvals SMS messages for people that have turned 2-factor authentication for their accounts, or for phone confirmation messages when you add a phone number to your Facebook account’.

    The logic is clear. But the key, it seems to me, lies in the word ‘automatically’. Surely the app doesn’t *need* to do this automatically. Facebook could simply prompt me to type in the code manually. Or, at the very least, provide this option. This may be a perfectly innocent feature. But in the light of growing concerns about online privacy, such an option would help to allay people’s fears.

    Two-factor authentication provides an extra level of security, so it’s good to see Facebook providing this option. It’s up to you, of course, to decide if you’re happy to allow Facebook to read your messages. As a
    final note, we’d urge people to carefully check the permissions requested by any app when you first install it.”