back to article Facebook phone app attempts to seize ALL YOUR MAIL

Facebook has found an innovative way to encourage use of its email service: reach into users' mobile phone address books and change the email addresses stored against each contact to their Facebook email account. It has emerged that Facebook's war on competing services now extends beyond the manipulated Timeline and into …


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  1. Simon 26
    Big Brother

    All you FaceBitches

    are belong to us.

    1. LarsG

      If you want Facebook you've gotta bend over and take it up the ar*e baby!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This should lead to the courts making all Facebook aps


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Apple want to embed it into iOS 6!

      Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit I don't want it so why should I be made to have it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: AND

        It's not embedded into iOS you AC fool. You still have to install the app. The "integration" is just an API for the app.

        In iOS 6 you also have to approve access to the contacts as well as being able to remove such permission at any time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AND @ metavisor

          Is that what you think you poor misguided fool!

          Facebook is like the clap, it won't just go away if you ignore it, it will just get worse.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

            Re: AND @ metavisor

            How can you insult the clap like that? What did it ever do to you?

      2. Piloti

        Re: AND

        You're not made to have it.

        Don't buy an Apple thing.

        Problem simply vanishes......

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: All you FaceBitches


      1. Jon Green

        Re: All you FaceBitches

        Clue to the clueless: so Facebook updates your mobile contacts.

        Then the changes get synced back to your Gmail contacts.

        Then the changes get synced with your Outlook address book.

        At which point Facebook has inveigled itself into all your contacts data in a way you'd be VERY unlikely to have wanted, and will get copies of all emails you send via their addresses. Now, I don't know where you come from, but in the UK that could very well fall under the Computer Misuse Act and earn its perpetrators solid jail-time.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Good advice

    ...but my Sony Experia won't let me delete the FB app even though it's never used, unless I root the handset!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Good advice

      Just don't feed the app any login details. Then Facebook will starve, for lack of data to eat...

      1. Phill Holland

        Re: Good advice

        pretty soon facebook won't need any login details to eat your data. for all your datas belongs to us.

      2. ShelLuser


        Or its AI fires up and it decides to snack on something else. Would you take the risk?

    2. RobbinMcDobbin

      Re: Good advice

      If you are a droid punter, get your phone rooted then get root uninstaller and zap the bloatware.

      1. Fibbles
        Thumb Down

        Re: Good advice

        I don't have the facebook app installed. I do have my contacts linked to their facebook profiles though so that Sense UI can scrape their accounts for extra contact info. It's just a useful feature that means I don't have to manually enter missing email addresses etc.

        When facebook changed everybody's default email to guess what happened to every email address in my contact list...

        1. big_D Silver badge


          Don't worry, it will only change the addresses of those friends dumb enough to use Facebook ;-)

          1. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

            Re: @Fibbles

            Excellent point. Those dumbarses. Then I realised that I have a Facebook account, only ironically you understand.

  3. JDX Gold badge


    as title

  4. RockBurner

    So - if El Reg's advice is to remove the facebook app - what's the advice for those of us who haven't rooted our phones and thus aren't actually able to remove the "operator installed" apps. eh? eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shoot the operator...?

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      "what's the advice for those of us who haven't rooted our phones and thus aren't actually able to remove the "operator installed" apps."

      Don't allow the Facebook app to upgrade to anything beyond the version that came with the phone - and hope it's a version that doesn't do insidious things like this.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't use the official FB App - use another one instead.

      FB's forced email addresses are also seriously fucking up some third party apps too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook App

      'what's the advice for those of us who haven't rooted our phones and thus aren't actually able to remove the "operator installed" apps'

      I don't use neither Facebook nor mobile phones so I may be way off the mark, but... isn't there anywhere in the application where you enter your account details? If so, presumably setting those to a non-existing account should stop the app working. Or does the ruddy thing do the contact book fiddling business without even being logged in with a Facebook account? If so, talking to your favourite consumer group / solicitor may be in order, as the legality of the operation seems a bit dubious to me.

    5. Spearchucker Jones


      Chuck the Android phone and get a Windows phone. It lets you uninstall all operator- or manufacturer-installed apps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simple.

        So to remove one piece of malware you need ... another piece of malware?

      2. Mike Taylor

        Re: Simple.

        Fb app on my winphone is just fine

      3. Dunhill

        Re: Simple.

        tried it .. did not work .. windows is still there

      4. Suricou Raven

        Re: Simple.

        But it also, like the iPhone, doesn't let you install any app that hasn't been explicitly approved by Microsoft. When it comes to mobile phones, customers have plenty of choice: They can choose which company they would rather be screwed by.

    6. BillG Silver badge

      Not Rooted?

      "what's the advice for those of us who haven't rooted our phones and thus aren't actually able to remove the "operator installed" apps"

      1. Disable auto-updating for the FB app from Google Play

      2. Clear all the data for the app by long-pressing the app in Launcher and select Application Info, then click "Clear Data"

      This should make the FB Android app unused and uninitiated.

      SHUT DOWN YOUR PHONE completely, then restart (do NOT reboot)

      Now Never, NEVER EVER use the FB app, use the web interface instead

    7. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      "what's the advice for those of us who haven't rooted our phones and thus aren't actually able to remove the "operator installed" apps. eh? eh?"

      Root your phone.

    8. Frank Bough


      ...should have bought an iPhone

      1. It wasnt me

        Re: advice?

        Well done Sir. Upvoted because you must have ballls of steel posting a comment like that round here. And using your own name. Top trolling.....

    9. big_D Silver badge


      Disable the app (remove username and password information, so that it can't log in).

    10. Hawknic
      Big Brother

      Just delete your account if you can't delete the app

      Just did this on my Experia, worked fine. You could probably just turn off the synch in "settings > accounts and synch" (same place you can delete the account by the way), but I never use the app anyway so just starved it as an earlier poster recommended.

    11. Christopher Blackmore

      If you can't remove the app...

      Remove the account information so it can't log on.

    12. Colin Millar


      Stop buying shiny shit

  5. mdava


    Wow! Just wow! That is genuinely outrageous behaviour.

    Thank god I uninstalled FB's slow, cr@ppy app. They deserve a LOT of abuse for this.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That really does take the biscuit


  7. pewpie


    if you willingly signed up to a corporate wet dream - expect to be fucked in the anus regularly.

    not one jot of sympathy for any of you.

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: vaseline?

      Vaseline? This aint the 70s mate - lube technology has come a long way since then - pardon the pun.

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Paris Hilton

      Re: vaseline?

      That's why crApple patented rounded corners.

      Paris, who else?

  8. Jason Hindle

    Is this really, actually happening?

    I've just gone through the utter mess that is my Android address book and see no evidence of this happening. Quite a few people in the address book have their Facebook connection indicated but there are no email addresses.

    Now, if Facebook are doing this, I suspect it could amount to destruction of property. Not the kind of thing they'd want to be caught doing.

    1. tgm

      Re: Is this really, actually happening?

      If I remember correctly, Google stopped any Facebook contact integration when Facebook didn't want to 'share' back.

      So, I might be wrong, but perhaps this only affects older versions of Android? My ICS Android phone doesn't have any Facebook contact integration even though I have the app installed...

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: Is this really, actually happening?

        Thanks. That may well explain my experience (I use ICS also),

      2. johnny19

        Re: Is this really, actually happening?

        When you install Facebook app, it asks you what you want to sync. Everything, just contacts or nothing.

        This is the Android security measure, it is basically Facebook's app, asking for permission to access your and update your phone.

        Anyone who chose anything other than 'nothing' deserves everything they get.

        1. Rob Beard

          Re: Is this really, actually happening?

          I too disabled the Facebook contacts syncing. It annoyed the hell out of me when I first got my Galaxy S about 18 months ago, so much so that I wiped the phone and started from scratch again, so now whenever I do wipe the phone or upgrade the version of Android (such as CM9 which I installed last week) I make sure the Facebook app doesn't sync.

          I think most of my Facebook friends don't bother updating their mobile numbers and contact information on Facebook anyway when they get new phones etc (hardly any of them port their numbers, they just change their phones and send out lots of texts to friends saying... "here's my new number").

          I presume this is also related to Facebook changing saved e-mail addresses on Facebook to e-mail addresses recently. Oh well, the 2 or 3 contacts I have e-mail addresses stored for are okay.

          Mine's the one with the little black book of numbers in the pocket.


    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Is this really, actually happening?

      Regarding your destruction of property comment - does it breach any computer misuse acts? Or is this going to be yet another case of "individual hacks company and goes to jail, company hacks individuals' data by the thousands and gets off with it"? Can they be sued for the cost of replacing the data/fixing the problem just like an individual would? Thought not.

  9. Alienrat

    Presumably if you don't log into whatever facebook app you have on your phone, it can't replace your addresses with anything.

  10. chris 27


    If you have a phone with a pre-installed version of facebook, you can clear the data for the app (under settings) and it will no longer have your credentials to login to the filthy malware pedlar's servers.

    something like (depending on version):

    settings -> apps -> filthbook -> clear data


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