Hey, why not phone your dead loved ones with Facebook's new 'Hello' call dialer app

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Facebook on Wednesday launched a new caller ID and phone call dialer app for Android. iPhone users, this isn't for you: iOS won't give up the needed phone permissions. And maybe that's a good thing.

Called "Hello," the app allows you to preview info on people or businesses who are calling you, to help you avoid telemarketers, bill collectors, and exes. Hello also integrates your Facebook friends' phone numbers with their profiles, and other cool stuff. “It also might tell you you've recently had phone calls with dead people,” writes Damon Beres at HuffPo.

seewhoscalling When I downloaded the "Hello" app to my smartphone, I swiped over to my call history and was startled to find that my friend's younger brother Oliver was showing up instead of him -- even though he passed away two years ago.

Apparently, the problem has to do with how phone numbers can be set up on Facebook. After looking into the issue following an inquiry from The Huffington Post, a spokeswoman for Facebook told me that my friend's number was registered under Oliver's account, though it's not viewable by his friends. In other words, Oliver had two numbers associated with his account: His own cell phone number that was posted on his Facebook profile for others to see, and, for reasons that aren't clear, my friend's cell phone number that was kept private but associated with his account.

Wired News has a good quick first look at how the app works. I'm sure all the privacy issues have all been worked out, and the app is completely benign and totally worth trusting with your phone permissions.

In related news: Facebook revenue was below analyst expectations today, but the company shared strong user growth that showed its monthly user base was now larger than the population of China.

Notable Replies

  1. Long distance charges may apply.

  2. What what what? Out-of-date or otherwise error-prone Facebook data is one thing to be upset about, but a locked-down phone ecosystem is hardly the solution.

  3. I logged out of Facebook and deleted all Facebook apps from everything I own and control which had anything to do with Facebook installed. I get the feeling that there are more and more people doing this. I hope that in a decade or two when someone mentions "Facebook", the typical response is "Face what?"

  4. Welp, my dad died over 2 years ago, and he's still on my phone. I just can't take him off, although that number probably belongs to someone else now.

  5. In the case of anything made by schmuckerberg, maybe. In most other cases an informed user being locked out of the features of the thing they own is explicitly never a good thing.

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