by Graham Pierrepoint
With so much media interest and controversy surrounding data that had been passed belonging to 50 million Facebook users to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica in recent weeks, it’s hardly surprising that more than a few people are looking to seek retribution and justice via their own hands. It has emerged – through many a media outlet-led guide or two – that those of us using the Facebook app on Android devices may have given the platform free reign to obtain and store call and SMS records – as some Twitter users exposed via the micro-blogging site when they requested their data file from the network.
It is suggested that you give authority for Facebook to store and use such data while using certain instant messengers – however, it appears that at least three messenger users have mounted a legal challenge against Mark Zuckerberg’s firm in an effort to strike back against a breach of privacy. The complaint, it is reported, alleges that the social network effectively violated the privacy of the users complaining (at least three at the time of writing) when such call and text records were obtained. It’s claimed that the active ‘scraping’ of data occurred without the users’ knowledge – and while the plaintiffs are seeking to take class action (which is available to join), it has been reported variously that Android users may have had access to controlling this type of data sharing up to a certain point. This may be the sticking point in the case – as of October 2017, all apps on the Android platform were requested to make such permissions clear – and it has been stated that anyone wishing to join the lawsuit will need to effectively prove that they were using and at risk of such data collection before this date.
Watch: ▶ Three Users Sue Facebook Over Data Collection
It’s not just Facebook that is facing questions over data collection in this manner – Google, who are responsible for the Android brand, are also facing queries as to why such permissions were not made clear in the first instance, and not until late 2017. Certainly, it is a saga that seems to be continuing to snowball – and while Facebook appear to be trying to reverse the damage done to their brand and their damaged trust in the eyes of their users with new privacy standards and controls set to be rolled out in due course, it seems that many people are beyond happy with the data collection and use that has taken place thus far.