Friday, December 7, 2018

Facebook Was Aware That Tracking Contacts Is Creepy

Arvind Narayanan:

The internal Facebook documents released today make for an incredible read. Remember the Dark Pattern consent dialog that FB used to grab Android users' call and text history w/o alerting them? Now we can see some of the scheming that led to that decision.


1) How completely broken is Android’s security model if malicious apps are somehow automatically granted permissions on private data?

2) How can people at Facebook still have a conscience and do stuff like this?

Kashmir Hill (via John Gruber):

The business team wanted to get Bluetooth permissions so it could push ads to people’s phones when they walked into a store. Meanwhile, the growth team, which is responsible for getting more and more people to join Facebook, wanted to get “Read Call Log Permission” so that Facebook could track everyone whom an Android user called or texted with in order to make better friend recommendations to them. (Yes, that’s how Facebook may have historically figured out with whom you went on one bad Tinder date and then plopped them into “People You May Know.”) According to internal emails recently seized by the UK Parliament, Facebook’s business team recognized that what the growth team wanted to do was incredibly creepy and was worried it was going to cause a PR disaster.

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[…] in hewing to it. Nevertheless, thanks to catastrophic hardware failures, corporate buyouts, and creepy corporate policies, I began anew to prepare myself to giving up one or more of those entities should I feel the need […]

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