It has been a torrid few days for Facebook. It has come under a barrage of criticism globally due to its role in sharing data with a third-party in U.S. election manipulation scandal. Not long ago, Facebook was also alleged to gather regular call and SMS data records from the smartphones.
Facebook, like always, came out with an explanation that it only captures this data whenever users give the permission. But how does Facebook get access to this data? Call and text history logging is considered to be a part of an opt-in feature for all the users that install Facebook Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. You can also turn off this feature by visiting the Messenger settings page for Messenger and Facebook Lite users.
Is there a way to check which information has Facebook collected?
There is a lot of criticism about the recent scandal and Facebook is already facing legal repercussions from different governments across the globe. But is there a way to check what kind of data Facebook has captured until now? Fortunately, there is, and we are going to share with you how can you check data of yours that Facebook has captured until now.
You will be surprised that Facebook not only keeps a track of your regular calls, including the incoming calls and the call duration. It also keeps a track of all your incoming and outgoing SMS much like an ambient recording app. To get all these details, all you need to do is to download the zip file. Follow these simple steps:
- Step 1: Log into your Facebook account and visit this page.
- Clicking on the above link will direct you to your account setting page. Right under the ‘General Account Settings’ option click on ‘Download a copy’ link.
- Once you clock this options, you will see a ‘Download your information’ page with an option to click on ‘Download Archive’.
- Choosing this option will open a dialogue box prompting you for your password. Once you enter the password, there will be a message that Facebook will notify you once the data is ready to download.
- Once you see the message then you can click on the notification and download the .zip file on the desktop.
- After downloading, extract the files and click on ‘HTML’ followed by ‘contact_info’
- Open the file and scroll to see what all your call and SMS data that Facebook has gathered over the years.
This file also reveals the advertisers which are using your Facebook contact information, unlike an ambient recording app. You can see this under the ‘Ads’ option. There is also an option to see the same from inside the app as well.
How to stop Facebook from accessing your calls and SMS data?
- If you are a Messenger user then you can visit this link and delete your contact data Facebook has collected.
- If you are a Facebook Lite user, then perform the same steps on this link.
When you first log in to your Facebook Messenger, you will see the option to ‘Learn More’ or ‘Not Now’ in addition to ‘Turn On’. If you are a Facebook Lite user, the option to turn it on or skip is there. According to the Facebook, the information is only gathered if you chose to turn this feature on. Turning it on will allow the Facebook to continuously log your information, which can be downloaded at any time using the Download Your Information tool. However, the social media giant claims that it never sells any of this data and the feature does not collect the content of the SMS or calls.