Most popular Android app caught harvesting users contacts: Facebook
Facebook, the top-ranking free app in Google Play, has taken advantage of Android's weak platform security to collect users' phone numbers as soon as the app is installed, highlighting core differences in Apple's approach to protecting users' privacy and those of social-advertising firms like Facebook and Google.
The news of Facebook's latest "leak" was outed by Symantec after it analyzed various Android apps using its Norton Mobile Insight tool designed to "discover malicious applications, privacy risks, and potentially intrusive behavior."
Symantec didn't need to dig deep into Google Play to find pay dirt, but its researchers still noted that it "even surprised us when we reviewed the most popular applications exhibiting privacy leaks."
The firm stated, "the first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers. 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."