Facebook Android App Found Collecting Phone Numbers Without User Consent

Pulkit Chandna

Next update to fix the issue

Faced with allegations of complicity in the furtive Prism surveillance program earlier this month, Facebook strongly denied being part of any such program and vowed to keep “fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.” Well, its Android app tells a different story.

The latest version of Symantec’s Norton Mobile Security tool came out on Wednesday and got down to work straight away, flagging the Facebook app as being a privacy risk . According to the security company, the new Mobile Insight technology contained in the security app caught the Facebook Android app calling home to send the user’s phone number. What’s more alarming is the fact that this is something the app does right off the bat, without even waiting for the user to log in.

“The first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers,” Symantec said in a blog post. “You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen.”

On being confronted on the issue by Symantec, Facebook promised to fix the issue in the next update (already in beta, thankfully). Further, it denied using or processing the phone numbers in anyway, adding that they have now been deleted from its servers.

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