new-documents-show-that-facebook-has-never-deserved-your-trust

10-12-18 07:08:00,

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Another week, another set of reminders that, while Facebook likes to paint itself as an “optimistic” company that’s simply out to help users and connect the world, the reality is very different. This past week, those reminders include a collection of newly released documents suggesting that the company adopted a host of features and policies even though it knew those choices would harm users and undermine innovation.

This month, a member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament published a trove of internal documents from Facebook, obtained as part of a lawsuit by a firm called Six4Three. The emails, memos, and slides shed new light on Facebook’s private behavior before, during, and after the events leading to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Here are some key points from the roughly 250 pages of documents.

Facebook Uses New Android Update to Pry Into Your Private Life in Ever-More Terrifying Ways

The documents include some of the internal discussion that led to Facebook Messenger’s sneaky logging of Android users’ phone call and text message histories. When a user discovered what Messenger was doing this past spring, it caused public outrage right on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica news. Facebook responded with a “fact check” press release insisting that Messenger had never collected such data without clear user permission.

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In newly revealed documents from 2015, however, Facebook employees discuss plans to coerce users into upgrading to a new, more privacy-invasive version of Messenger “without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog at all,” despite knowing that this kind of misrepresentation of the app’s capabilities was “a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective.”

This kind of disregard for user consent around phone number and contact information recalls earlier research and investigation exposing Facebook’s misuse of users’ two-factor authentication phone numbers for targeted advertising.

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