Facebook is freaking people out, yo. The Cambridge Analytica thing - which is reasonably confusing, amongst other things - has everyone rattled, and people are shutting their accounts down in droves. Where will they see confusing memes about wine o’clock now?
Some people are taking the option of downloading all of their data from Facebook as a zip file, so they can keep hold of treasured memories (the time you drunkenly messaged your uncle to call him racist and he got really angry! The embarrassing, unsuccessful copy-and-pasted flirty messages you sent to everyone you fancied and thought you might have a chance with after you got dumped and kind of lost your mind! The time you checked in to Poundland, William Hill and Bargain Booze in one morning because you thought it was funny but then your mum got worried about you!).
Some Android users have found that the data contains some pretty surprising and worrying stuff, though. What kind of worrying stuff? Call records, for one.
Download your Facebook account .zip off their site, unzip it, then go to the HTML folder, open the contact_info.htm file. See records of who you've talked to on your cell—not with the app, just on your regular cellphone—and for how long. https://t.co/l9BDEJu3Hx— Mat Johnson (@mat_johnson) March 23, 2018
That’s pretty dodgy. Keeping records of what you do using the Facebook app (which people never do anyway because it’s dumb) is one thing, but keeping tabs on normal phone calls? That feels sketchy as hell.
According to Facebook, though, it’s your fault if they have this data, because you opted into letting them have it. They said: “People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If, at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off in settings, and all previously shared call and text history shared via that app is deleted. While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only.”
The thing is, of course, that we don’t read or think about things when agreeing permissions on apps - we go along with whatever comes up because it’s easier, vastly easier, than curtailing what the app can do. But then Facebook knows everything about you. The best thing to come out of all of this might be that we start thinking about what we’re agreeing to when we allow companies access to intimate details of our lives.
If you’re an Android user and want to make sure Facebook doesn’t have your call records, open the Facebook Messenger app and tap on your profile picture, then tap on People and make sure the ‘Sync contacts’ option is turned off.
Job done, now Mark Zuckerberg will have to resort to other ways to spy on you, probably by renting the house next door and putting a glass to the wall. That’s what we’d do anyway.