You know that list of permissions you breeze by when downloading an app? The ones you likely don’t read but that could contain all kinds of little things you might not want to put in the hands of say, Facebook? Yeah. You should probably be reading those, since Facebook permissions for its mobile app allows for it to read your text messages if they want to.
After a report in the Sunday Times in London said Facebook was secretly reading the text messages of users of the mobile app, they’re responding to say that’s all hogwash — they’re not doing it now, but they technically could if they really wanted to. And you already gave them the go-ahead.
A Facebook spokesman said in response to the article that the permission to access text messages is right there in the app’s terms and conditions, according to the Washington Post.
“The Sunday Times has done some creative conspiracy theorizing but the suggestion that we’re secretly reading people’s texts is ridiculous,” the company said in a statement. “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 texts. However, other than some very limited testing, we haven’t launched anything so we’re not using the permission. If we do, it will be obvious to users what’s happening. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.”
A close look at the app permissions list does show Facebook can edit, receive, read or send SMS messages on your behalf. On the bright side, maybe it would be better at not sending embarrassing texts to exes than you are.
The bottom line is to be aware of what you’re agreeing to — if you’re not comfortable giving a company that kind of control, don’t agree to an app’s permissions. You might not be able to download the app, but you know what they say about having your cake and eating it, too. You can’t!
Facebook denies it’s snooping through texts [Washington Post]