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Accidental update reveals Facebook is testing new Phone app

This experimental update seems to create a Facebook-powered caller ID feature for smart phones, even blocking unwanted calls.

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File - WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone in New York.

Patrick Sison

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Facebook appears to be very interested in expanding the way we use the social network and its apps to communicate with each other.

After it was revealed that Facebook's WhatsApp was testing a mobile calling feature, it was leaked that the social network may be expanding its communication features, as well.

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First reported by Android Police, screenshots of an update titled "Try Phone [FB-ONLY]" appeared for select Facebook users. The message on the update read: “Phone is a new app that shows you info about who’s calling and automatically blocks calls from commonly blocked numbers.”

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While details of the possible Android Phone app are scarce, it seems pretty straightforward. A user could download the theoretical mobile app and see who is calling. The app would likely access the profile information of Facebook’s 1.39-billion users to alert someone who was attempting to contact them and allow for an individual to block certain callers.

When the few people who received the accidental upgrade attempted to install or update the app, they were met with a “no page found” error. That and the [FB-ONLY] label signaled that the update was mistakenly sent out by Facebook and is probably only accessible to employees of the company.

In an interview with Venturebeat, Facebook confirmed that the Phone app existed, but would not elaborate on details. “We are always testing things and have nothing to announce at this time,” a Facebook spokesperson said to the tech site.

All in all, Phone just appears to be a replacement dialer app. If Phone becomes a reality, as Andoird Police points out, this will likely be another way for Facebook to take “anonymized” data from incoming calls for marketing and research purposes.

As with other pet projects, no one is really sure if this app will ever exit the testing phase, but this should only add to the rumor mill surrounding a Facebook smart phone.