Facebook Urged Android Developers to Comply With Google Play’s SMS Policy Update

Apps must only use permissions to enable core functionality

Do apps need access to your text messages?
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Facebook alerted developers of Android applications about a change it is making to comply with Google’s new policy on permissions covering SMS (short messaging service, or text messages).

A new Google Play policy took effect Wednesday, saying that if apps do not require access to call log or SMS permissions, those permissions must be removed from those apps’ manifests, or the apps may be removed from the Google Play store.

Google provided more specifics: “You should only access call log or SMS permissions when your app falls within permitted uses, and only to enable your app’s core functionality. Core functionality is defined as the main purpose of the app. It’s the feature most prominently documented and promoted in the app’s description—no other feature is more central to the app’s functionality. If this feature isn’t provided, the app is “broken” or rendered unusable (i.e., app is deprived of its primary functionality and will not perform as a user would expect).”

Developers who believe their apps meet the criteria can submit this permissions declaration form.

Facebook said in a blog post that developers should remove the RECEIVE_SMS permission from their apps’ manifests in order to comply with the Google Play policy and ensure that their Facebook Account Kit continues to function.

The social network added that the next version of its Account Kit software-development kit will no longer use the RECEIVE_SMS permission.

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