Facebook’s most controversial app to date uses camera and microphone
While looking further into one of Facebook’s most controversial apps to date, Facebook Spokesperson calls information from Google Player, “filled with inaccuracies.” I recently covered an article about this app Is Facebook Listening to Your Conversations as a petition was circulating to have the app removed, as reported by Business Insider on June 5, 2014.
Facebook claims the app in question has an opt-in feature, which means you can decide to allow access to your camera or microphone or not. In fact, Facebook covers all this information in detail at Facebook Newsroom. Stating they are aware of users concerns for privacy and safety issues.
On May 28, 2014, Facebook tried to ease account holders minds by posting a Myth and Fact form of information. One part we found very interesting:
Myth: People have to use this new feature.
Fact: Nope, this feature is completely optional.
Why is this so interesting, well I put the app to the test and begun the steps to download the app to a mobile device and found there was no way to download the app to the mobile device without accepting the apps given permissions. Those permissions are clearly stated by Google Player. As you will see, I’ve provided screenshots of the information for you.
The permissions states: An app CAN use your device’s camera and/or microphone. But wait, that’s not all. Camera and microphone may include the ability to:
- Take pictures / videos
- Record Audio
- Record Video
Okay, so where is that opt-in feature Facebook was talking about. The app clearly will NOT ALLOW itself to be even downloaded without accepting the given permissions required by the app. Maybe the opt-in feature comes after you have already downloaded the app to your device.
That means you would have to take extra steps just to go back into the app and find that opt-in option. I’m not seeing where Facebook made this quick and easy like stated in their details as to why the app was created in the first place.
” Today, we’re making those conversations quicker and easier by introducing a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies.” – Facebook Newsroom
If you think that is a cause for concern maybe you should know what else this newest app does like phone permissions.
An app can use your phone and/or call history. What exactly does that mean? It may shock you!
Phone access may include:
- Directly call phone numbers, this may cost you money.
- Write call log
- Read call log
- Reroute outgoing calls (Now why would it have to do that, is the NSA listening in?)
- Modify phone state (Did you move and not tell yourself?)
- Make calls without your intervention (Who’s making calls on your phone without your permission?)
Oh wait, if you accepted the clause to download this trusting app you gave permission remember.
Now we don’t want to scare you, nor are we tell you not to use the app. I just think you should be informed. We all dislike those long clause terms and most people just skip them all together or skim them, however maybe you should be reading what you’re getting into or what you’re letting others get into for that matter.
If all of this wasn’t enough to make you question your privacy and safety maybe you should think about those in your contacts. This app loves to gain access and your contacts are not off limits.
An App can use your devices contact/calendar:
- Read your contacts, (Who needs to know who your contacts are?)
- Modify your contacts
- Read calendar events and CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
- Add and modify calendar event and send emails to guests WITHOUT OWNERS’ KNOWLEDGE
That’s a pretty scary app to invite someone to an event you are at without your knowledge. I’m not seeing the inaccuracy the Facebook spokesperson was talking about, do you?
I contacted Facebook about their newest released app in question shared my findings and asked some pretty tough questions:
- Isn’t it a violation of privacy for an app to take a picture or even video without the consent of those within the picture or video?
- Does Facebook not consider it a violation of privacy to record audio?
- Who else does Facebook allow to use the content it collects, is it part of a partnership with the NSA?
As it is well known Facebook has worked with and continues to work with the government through the NSA’s Prism Program.
After giving them several oppurtunities to clear up any inaccurate information provided by Google Player, they were unwilling to make a statement. A Facebook spokesperson just wanted to walk us the app saying a statement wouldn’t answer all my questions, which is strange being they clearly could have provided a statement answering those questions.
Resource: Google Player, Facebook Newsroom, Business Insider and Sumofus.org