Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to explain how data was taken without users’ consent to a UK Parliamentary committee on the same day Facebook bought ads in U.S. and British newspapers to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal; the social media site faces new questions about collecting phone numbers and text messages from Android devices. According to Ars Technica, the website reported that users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found that it had years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and even text messages.
Facebook has responded to the findings, however, the company appears to suggest that it is normal for apps to access your call history when you upload contacts to social apps;
“The most important part of apps and services that help you make connections is to make it easy to find the people you want to connect with,” says a Facebook spokesperson, in response to a query from the website, Ars Technica. “So, the first time you sign in on your phone to a messaging or social app, it’s a widely used practice to begin by uploading your phone contacts” the spokesperson added.
Reports of the data collection came as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took out ads in multiple U.S. and British Sunday newspapers to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The ads say the social media platform doesn’t deserve to hold personal information if it can’t protect it. According to the ads, a quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked Facebook data of millions of people four years ago. Zuckerberg said this was a “breach of trust” and that Facebook is taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Facebook’s privacy practices have come under fire after Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated political consulting firm, got data inappropriately. Since the revelation was first published, the social media platform’s stock value has dropped over $70 billion. Cambridge Analytica got the data from a researcher who paid 270,000 Facebook users to complete a psychological profile quiz back in 2014, however, the quiz gathered information on their friends as well, bringing the total number of people affected to about 50 million.
The Trump campaign paid the firm $6 million during the 2016 election but has since distanced itself from Cambridge.