Facebook is hotly denying the allegations that it reads text messages sent through the Facebook app available on Android phones, which includes text messaging. Oh, they readily admit that they can read them, they just deny that they are reading them.
“The suggestion that we’re secretly reading people texts is ridiculous,” said a Facebook representative, adding that “…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.”
Of course, when you go to download the Facebook app on the Android market, this is what you see – note that the permissions are disclosed on a separate tab:
Who actually clicks and reads the permissions tab? However, if you did, here is what you would find that it says:
This application has access to the following:
act as an account authenticator
Allows an application to use the account authenticator capabilities of the AccountManager, including creating accounts and getting and setting their passwords.
manage the accounts list
Allows an application to perform operations like adding, and removing accounts and deleting their password.
Services that cost you money
send SMS messages
Allows application to send SMS messages. Malicious applications may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.
fine (GPS) location
Access fine location sources such as the Global Positioning System on the device, where available. Malicious applications can use this to determine where you are, and may consume additional battery power.
edit SMS or MMS
Allows application to write to SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. Malicious applications may delete your messages.
Allows application to receive and process SMS messages. Malicious applications may monitor your messages or delete them without showing them to you.
read SMS or MMS
Allows application to read SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. Malicious applications may read your confidential messages.
full Internet access
Allows an application to create network sockets.
Your personal information
read contact data
Allows an application to read all of the contact (address) data stored on your device. Malicious applications can use this to send your data to other people.
write contact data
Allows an application to modify the contact (address) data stored on your device. Malicious applications can use this to erase or modify your contact data.
read phone state and identity
Allows the application to access the phone features of the device. An application with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like.
modify/delete USB storage contents modify/delete SD card contents
Allows an application to write to the USB storage. Allows an application to write to the SD card.
write sync settings
Allows an application to modify the sync settings, such as whether sync is enabled for Contacts.
prevent device from sleeping
Allows an application to prevent the device from going to sleep.
That said, you also are confronted with this screen as you are downloading the Facebook app:
So it is true that you have been warned.
The question is, do you heed that warning, or do you say to yourself “Everyone, and every app, does it, so I guess I’ll accept it. It’s the price you pay to use the app.”?