Still reeling under the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been talking the talk about taking proactive measures to prevent third-party apps and services on the platform from getting access to private data of the company’s billion+ users. However, the company’s own app came under the scanner yet again this week for allegedly asking for admin privileges (superuser permissions) that could potentially allow it to access private data of millions of smartphone users.
A Facebook bug is generating requests for ‘Superuser’ permissions to access user's devices!
This is not going to go down well.
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 18, 2018
After numerous posts on Reddit, Twitter and other online forums highlighted the issue, Facebook responded to the allegations by claiming that the pop-up was the result of a ‘coding error’. According to the company’s official statement, it was only being seen by people using rooted devices, and that too, only under certain circumstances. Thankfully, though, the company says it has fixed the issue with a new update.
“A coding error in one of our anti-fraud systems caused a small number of people running the Facebook app and certain permission management apps on rooted Android phones to see a request for additional access permissions. We do not need or want these permissions, and we have already fixed this issue. We apologize for any confusion”
Earlier, many Facebook users, perturbed by the popups, had been pouring onto various online forums with their complains, saying that the official Facebook Android app (com.facebook.katana) was asking for superuser access to users’ devices. It’s worth noting that this has been going on for a while now, with many users piling on to various internet forums to report that the Facebook Android app was asking for root permissions.
The latest wave, however, seemed to have been much more widespread, with many new users starting to complain about the exact same issues. According to Bleeping Computer, Facebook first started asking for admin access with version 188.8.131.52.93 of its Android app earlier this month, while the latest wave was seemingly triggered with version 184.108.40.206.93.