This March reports broke that Facebook had been gathering call, SMS, and MMS metadata from Android app users for years with questionable levels of consent. Ars Technica suggested that Facebook was exploiting a loophole in Android to harvest call and SMS data without requesting the permission from users. Facebook responded that it was only collecting metadata through Facebook Lite and Messenger, both of which ask users for that permission during setup. The platform's integrity, however, has now been brought into question once more with revelations from internal emails released by the UK Parliament that show employees explicitly discussing how they might avoid any Android permissions request when accessing SMS and call history. Read More
Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Facebook's popular Messenger chat client, has limited features by necessity; Facebook engineered the app to be optimized for budget devices and slow connections. While the simplicity can be refreshing compared to the bloated messes many Facebook-owned apps are becoming, it can also be constraining — but Facebook announced today that Lite is getting new tricks to bring it closer to its feature-rich older brother while maintaining its relatively light footprint. Read More
For better or worse, a lot of people get their news primarily from Facebook. The social network is aware of this, and earlier this year, started testing a feature called Today In, which brings curated local stories to users. The feature is apparently progressing well, as Facebook has announced that it's now available in more than 400 cities around the United States. Read More
Facebook has been refined over the years to keep you online and interacting with the service as long as possible. That ensures you'll see lots of Facebook ads, but it can be a drain on your time if you get stuck in a Facebook vortex. With everyone suddenly concerned about limiting screen time, Facebook has rolled out its previously announced "Your Time On Facebook" feature. It tells you how long you've been using the Facebook app, but that's pretty much it. Read More
According to a report out of the New York Times yesterday, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg ordered the company's high-level managers to switch to Android phones earlier this year. It's not clear if the order was ever enforced, or to what degree, but it apparently came on the heels of an MSNBC interview in which Tim Cook openly criticized Facebook's data collection and privacy policies in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and associated congressional hearings.
Cook's remarks apparently so upset Zuckerberg that he issued the Android phone directive - though, as The Verge points out, it seems unlikely that it worked (at least very well):
[W]e checked Twitter activity from several Facebook executives, including blockchain lead David Marcus and VP of AR and VR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, all of whom are still shown to be using iPhones.
You've almost certainly said something you regretted in a chat, whether it was because you were tired, angry, or just looking at the wrong conversation — but Facebook Messenger could soon get a feature that'll let you take those misguided statements back. Evidence has been found that an "unsend" option is in the works. Read More
When a company has the reputation that Facebook has, it's unsurprising that it will want to point to anything positive it does when the opportunity arises. Today, the company has announced that its fundraising tools have been responsible for more the $1 billion making its way to various charitable causes. Read More
If you weren't among the select few that began seeing Facebook Messenger's massive redesign (otherwise known as Messenger 4) in late September, you should see the changes shortly. Facebook is now rolling out Messenger's new, simplified UI more widely through a server-side update. Read More