Today it was discovered by a fellow G+’er that Facebook is now data harvesting even more information.
Don’t tell me to put on my tin-foil hat just yet.
The latest Facebook update, 188.8.131.52.13, now requests permissions to both Modify and Read the Clipboard – along with several other audio related permissions, those of which include Ring Volume, Media Volume and Audio Focus.
I’m not too concerned about the audio related permissions however, the Clipboard permissions are slightly pissing me off.
Prior to this update, I was able to freely copy and paste data between both the Facebook app and other apps without any problems what so ever. I did it all the time. For some reason both Modify and Read clipboard now form one of the many Facebook permissions the Android app now requires. Permissions which should not be needed.
If I disable these permissions I can no longer paste anything into a status update or the comments field within the Facebook app. These permissions have never been required before in order to this, so why now??
This is just another example of Facebook data harvesting – stealing your data. You wouldn’t even know it’s happening in this instance. Granting the app access to clipboard gives them access to everything on the clipboard – not just what you copy and paste to/from the Facebook app.
As you can see in the screenshot above, I’ve disabled plenty of the permissions and to date, I’ve been able to freely use the app without running into any issues what so ever. No force closes, no errors, nothing.
I don’t have anything to hide, so that’s not my problem. My problem is Facebook’s complete and utter disregard for user privacy in general. I’m still convinced that they are data harvesting and nothing will convince me otherwise – especially when they continue to add permissions which previously were not required to perform a certain function/functions.
I’ve got no idea what purpose the additional audio permissions play in all this. If I disable them, I can’t control my ring volume or media volume while the app is open. I’ve been able to freely do this in the past when these permissions weren’t present so I have no idea what purpose these permissions serve. It is Facebook I guess, so if they can slip in a few extra permissions, why the fuck not?!
Why the app needs permissions to Read and Modify my call logs, as well as Read SMS/MMS is beyond me. When Messenger formed part of the Facebook app one might argue that these were necessary. They’ve all been disabled since day one for me and I’ve never run into any issues. However, now that Messenger is a completely separate app, one would like to think that these extra permissions are soon removed from the Facebook app. Without the Messenger functions built in, there is absolutely no explanation/reason for these permissions to remain. Wait, it is Facebook after all. Just in case you don’t install the separate Messenger app, they still want your call logs and SMS/MMS data. I’d bet on it!
People really need to start becoming a lot more aware of what they handing over by continuing to run the Facebook app. There are way to many unknowns.