Facebook Messenger Scare #facebook #privacy

There has been an article going around on Facebook and other websites, that really “scares”  the tar out of you in regards to the new Facebook Messenger App. I did read this article. On the surface, I would agree with it… but the more I dive into the actual content, the more it falls apart. That’s a good thing.

The big scare, is that the new FB Messenger App is a privacy concern. That the permissions you grant it when installing on your phone, are too big brother’sh. I will be the first to point out, that I don’t like big brother. I don’t like giving away my privacy, and I don’t like allowing something to have more permissions than it should. That being said, even with those views, I still allow more access into my life every day just by shopping, than what the messenger APP is going to do!


First, Facebook messenger is an app that allows you to communicate with ‘all‘ users on your phone and on the computer, that use Facebook. In order for the app to be able to do that, it has to have permissions to certain ‘functions’ on the phone. How would an APP be able to see what users on your phone have FB, if you don’t grant it… I dunno… permissions to see  “All your contacts”? This, by the way, is one of the scary concerns people are worried about; allowing an APP to see every one of your contacts! Well, how can an app see your contacts, without letting it… see your contacts?   

Cell Phones, especially ‘droid’, are very restrictive. But their “permission” Categories are very all inclusive as well. One permission required by an app to do something necessary, may also allow it to do other things that it would never do, but it still “needs” that permission.

Having access to your contacts, is a permission. Droid phones in specific, are very up front about showing you the permissions an app requires in the beginning of an install. This is nice, but it also can make something see much more intrusive than it actually is.

Second, here a little breakdown of two Permission Categories.

Change the state of network connectivity – That is “required” so that the messenger app can change your ‘FB’ status to online of offline, based on settings you give it! Or if you hop on messenger, and tell it “Hey, I’m online!” It has to have that permission granted, or it can’t let people know you are available via FB Messenger when your phone is in ‘sleep’ mode. The app can’t function without being able to tell people you are or aren’t online. It’s not some nefarious permission that is going to be used by FB to make you online when you aren’t……

Call phone numbers and send SMS messages – Yes, because it’s a “messenger” app that sends messages… it also allows you to “call” your facebook friends……  Isn’t that self explanatory?

There are explanations for all the permissions that the APP requests, but I think you get the idea.

Lastly, if you don’t feel comfortable installing it, don’t. Does it stink that FB is making this mandatory to use? Yes!!!!!!



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2 Responses

  1. geeks says:

    Thanks for the link Tad.

  2. Thank you for this. I wrote my own piece on this yesterday, as I was fed up with all of the posts on my FB wall about the “Scary” Messenger app.


    Came to the same conclusion as well, regarding the app permissions being no more scary than these other ones (like you mentioned) that already have similar “scary” perms.

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