Feeds

Facebook denies poaching your text messages on Android

Newspaper fingers FB and YouTube App perms

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Facebook has dismissed allegations in The Sunday Times that the web giant's Android app can hoover text messages from phones as "creative conspiracy theorising".

Flatly denying the claim published by the broadsheet at the weekend, the social network's UK office said its app's ability to access text messages was open and transparent, and that Facebook isn't actually looking at text messages anyway.

The Sunday Times has done some creative conspiracy theorising," the rep said in a statement: "The suggestion that we're secretly reading people texts is ridiculous. Instead, the permission is clearly disclosed on the app page in the Android marketplace and is in anticipation of new features that enable users to integrate Facebook features with their reading and sending of texts."

The permissions page for the Facebook app on the Android App Marketplace does clearly state this feature of the app:

Facebook added that although its app does have the permission to read, send and edit text messages in a user's phone, it's not something it does. The biz said it has been using the feature to a "limited" extent to road-test a messaging service:

However, other than some very limited testing, we haven't launched anything so we're not using the permission.  When we do, it will be obvious to users what's happening.  We'll keep you posted on our progress.

The product under tests will require the SMS part of the phone to talk to the Facebook app, Facebook asserted. It's "a piece of dormant code used to run a limited internal test of a new feature," said the spinner.

The permissions issue is as much one for Google as Facebook: Apple's iOS walls off certain phone functions from third-party apps - including text messages and phone functions. But on Android phones that information is accessible to apps, provided the user agrees on downloading the app.

The Sunday Times article also highlighted that the YouTube app on Android was capable of remotely accessing and operating users' smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time. The app store permissions reads:

Allows application to take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the application at any time to collect images the camera is seeing.

Google did not respond immediately to a request for comment. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.