Facebook To Settle Class-Action Over Android Call Scraping

Facebook has tentatively agreed to settle class-action claims that it violated Android users' privacy by scraping data about phone calls and texts from their devices, according to court records.

Settlement terms have not yet been finalized, according to documents filed Thursday with U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in the Northern District of California.

If granted approval by Seeborg, the deal will resolve a battle dating to March of 2018, when several people with Android smartphones sued Facebook for allegedly gathering information about their calls and text messages.

The lawsuit came soon after software developer Dylan McKay tweeted that Facebook had compiled information -- including the names of people called, phone numbers and the calls' length -- for every phone call he made from his Android phone.



Facebook acknowledged at the time that its Messenger service logged metadata about people's calls, but said it only did so when people had opted in.

The consumers who sued alleged that Facebook asked users who installed Messenger whether the service could access their contacts -- but not whether the app could also access call and text logs.

Facebook countered in its court papers that a separate Messenger consent screen requested permission to upload information about people's call and text history.

In 2019, Seeborg denied Facebook's bid to request the lawsuit at an early stage.

Facebook had argued that the Android users weren't injured by the alleged data collection, and therefore shouldn't be able to proceed in court.

Seeborg rejected that argument for several reasons, including that the users claimed the scraping affected their phones by draining the batteries and depleting storage space.

Lawyers for Facebook and the Android users told Seeborg they intend to sign a formal settlement agreement and seek preliminary approval of the deal by early next month.

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