Facebook changes the way it stores call and text history: Yay or nay?

Facebook is trying its best to save the company's damaged reputation.

By Chandrika Jana

    Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know about the recent data scandal that shook Facebook. It all started when the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted to the allegations of Facebook sharing user data with British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. Little did Zuckerberg know, it was only the start and it was all downhill from there.

    Facebook changes the way it stores call and text history: Yay or nay?

    Following Zuckerberg's statement, reports started pouring in accusing his company of breaching user trust, and invading privacy. Ironically, the co-founder of WhatsApp (currently owned by Facebook) posted a tweet with the trending hashtag #DeleteFacebook. Apple's CEO Tim Cook also didn't miss the opportunity to take a dig at the social network giant.

    Leaving aside everything, users were certainly not happy with the fact that Facebook keeps a track on every call and text they send. In fact, Zuckerberg in an interview disclosed that the social media platform can detect the content of "private message". Shocking right? If we were to do a bizarre comparison, Facebook reminds us of the biblical quote "God watches everything we do". The only problem? Facebook is not God.

    We can juts guess how are the things inside the headquarters of Facebook, but the company has been making many changes to its platform. From making the settings menu more organized to restricting third-party access to user data, Zuckerberg is trying his best to save his company's damaged reputation.

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    Well, Facebook again published a blog yesterday detailing what are the changes it has made to how it manages user data.

    Events API

    Earlier, users could grant an app permission to get information about events they host or attend, including private events. This made it easy to add Facebook Events to calendar, ticketing or other apps.

    But Facebook Events have information about other people's attendance as well as posts on the event wall, which may not be as safe. From now on, apps using the API will not be able to access the guest list or posts on the event wall. And in the future, only apps that agree to strict requirements of Facebook will be allowed to use the Events API.


    Groups API

    Presently, apps need the permission of a group admin or member to access group content for closed groups, and the permission of an admin for secret groups. These apps help admins do things like easily post and respond to content in their groups.

    Going forward, all third-party apps using the Groups API will need approval from Facebook and an admin to ensure they benefit the group. Apps will no longer be able to access the member list of a group. And Facebook is also removing personal information, such as names and profile photos, attached to posts or comments that approved apps can access.


    Pages API

    Until today, any app could use the Pages API to read posts or comments from any Page. This let developers create tools for Page owners to help them do things like schedule posts and reply to comments or messages. But it also let apps access more data than necessary. So starting today, all future access to the Pages API will need to be approved by Facebook.

    Facebook Login

    Starting today, Facebook will need to approve all apps that request access to information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups. Further, it will no longer allow apps to ask for access to personal information such as religious or political views, relationship status and details etc.

    Search and Account Recovery

    Until today, people could enter another person's phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them.

    However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Well, Facebook has now disabled this feature.

    Call and Text History

    Call and text history is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. If you have used any of these apps, people you most frequently connect with surface at the top of your contact list.

    After reviewing the feature, Facebook has decided that it will delete all logs older than one year. At it will no longer collect broader data such as the time of calls.

    App Controls

    Finally, starting on Monday, April 9, Facebook users will see a link at the top of their News Feed so they can see what apps they use; and the information they have shared with those apps.

    People will also be able to remove apps that they no longer want. As part of this process people will also be notified if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

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