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Facebook Denies Looking At Your Text Messages

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Facebook Denies Looking At Your Text Messages

Facebook denied a report Monday from the Sunday Times in London that the company is reading text messages sent by users that have installed its popular app on their mobile phones.

“The Sunday Times has done some creative conspiracy theorizing but the suggestion that we’re secretly reading people’s texts is ridiculous,” said Iian Mackenzie, Facebook’s head of European communications in a post entitled “Today’s Bad Journalism.”

An earlier report in the Sunday Times suggested that Facebook was ogling users’ private texts based on the Facebook for Android app’s permissions. Those permissions seem to allow the Facebook app to view text messages stored on the installer’s phone.

However, Facebook has now strongly denied that it reads users’ text messages. Instead, Facebook says, the text-reading permission was put into place in anticipation of a text-integration feature currently being tested by the company.

“. . . 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,” said Mackenzie. “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.”

Mackenzie suggested that concerned users run a test to see exactly what data is being exchanged between a phone running the Facebook app and the company’s servers. He also made sure to tell readers that his post shouldn’t be interpreted as an announcement of a new messenger service.

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