Facebook is moving fast to deny a report from a UK newspaper that claimed the company was eavesdropping on text messages via the company's smartphone app. The Sunday Times web site (which is behind a paywall) claims that Facebook "admitted" to such practices as a way to get research to develop its own messaging service.
However, Facebook has now denied that the company is reading text messages from smartphone users. In a statement sent to Business Insider it says that the Facebook smartphone app's permissions include SMS read/write. The statement adds:
The reason it is on there is because we have done some testing (not with the general public) of products that require the SMS part of the phone to talk to the Facebook App. That's what the read&write refers to – the line of communication needed to integrate the two things.
The statement also said the Sunday Times article was leaping to the conclusion that Facebook was testing a new messaging system and it was "completely wrong" in saying that Facebook was in fact reading SMS messages from users.
The Sunday Times article even claims that Google's YouTube apps could take over a smartphone's camera and make it take pictures and videos at any time. Google has yet to respond to this claim.