The London (Sunday) Times has claimed–in an article behind its paywall–that Facebook has read texts by users who use the social networking giant’s smart phone apps. Facebook allegedly did this while looking into a message service of its own. The Times also noted that other major Web companies such as Flickr and Yahoo Messenger have accessed similar data.
Facebook, however, has issued a ‘clarification’ in response to a query from Business Insider, stating “There is no reading of user text messages.” The statement then explains why read/write app permissions in the Android version of its application may have given rise to rumors about the company reading messages. Facebook then argues it isn’t exactly working on its own messaging utility:
That’s not necessarily what we’re working on. SMS can be used for carrier billing (where users opt to pay for things like apps through their phone bill). Again – that’s not to say we’re launching this. It’s just an example of why an app might use these permissions. The Sunday Times leap to the conclusion that is was (sic) a messaging feature.
Anyway – we have yet to make any such features available to the public. (so the Sunday Times is completely wrong when it says Facebook is reading people’s SMS. Wrong on the terminology, and wrong on the suggestion that it has been implemented)
So… a careful reading suggests Facebook could read your texts via the app if it wanted, particularly if you have an Android phone, but it’s totally not.