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Web Girl Kelsie

The Facebook Messenger App is NOT Evil!

 

I'll just put this out there... I want to kick every single blogger who has tried to scare people into not using the Facebook Messenger app. 

If you want to see what I'm talking about: Scary Article 1, Scary Article 2, Scary Article 3, Scary Article 4, Google search with even more scary articles...

"But Web Girl Kelsie, why are you so irritated with these bloggers?" I'm glad you asked! While the information on what the app accesses is true, why not be a decent human being and tell people what exactly the permissions are for and how to control them? There are so many blogs that are only focusing on the negative, resulting in people freaking out.

One can only assume they're being paid by Google+ (do people even use that?) to write these. ;)

First things first: This app is NOT new. It's been around for years and I personally have been using it since fall of 2012. Yes, there's new features that were pushed out in recent updates, just like every other damn app you have on your phone, but it's not new. 

Second: Let's take a moment to look at WHY Facebook is moving messaging strictly onto the Messenger app. Everyone has had the Facebook app crash at some point. It's a complicated system that offers a TON of features. Having the messenger built into the Facebook app proved to be unstable and resulted in people complaining. Facebook listened, found a solution (housing the app separately) and made it happen!

Third: You're not being "FORCED" to do anything. If you don't want to use messenger on your phone, quit-yer-bitchin and don't download it. You can still use the Facebook mobile site (including messaging) on your phone's web browser. Yes, that's right. You also don't NEED the Facebook app on your phone. Do keep in mind though, the app is way faster, doesn't pull as much data and is more stable.

As you'll see below, a lot of the issues include the phrase "without your confirmation." If your apps asked you every single time "Are you sure you want to take a photo?" or "Are you sure you want to record audio?", wouldn't you get annoyed? Facebook, and any other app that accesses your photos/info/contacts/audio, initially asks for permission to access these features when you tell it to.

1. Allows the app to call phone numbers without your confirmation. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. - Don't hit the call button if you don't want to call someone. You can immediately end the call if you accidentally do.

2. Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation. - Don't hit the camera or photo button unless you want to send a photo. Both options require you to actually take a photo or hit "send" before it sends. It's not sending anything without you telling it to.

3. Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation. - Again, don't hit the audio button unless you want it to send audio. Same as above, it requires a second action from you to send it.

4. Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. - Don't let messenger access your contacts.

5. Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. - Same as above.

6. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. - Ditto.

7. Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others. - ...The Facebook Messenger app is accessing your Facebook profile so it can accurately connect you with your friends. This is bad, how?

8. Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call. - Every app accesses this. Facebook is NOT a malicious app.

9. Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed. - Syncing accounts is what Facebook does, unless you tell it not to. Instagram, Twitter, your Candy Crush account... all can be linked to Facebook.

10. Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity. - ie. if you try to use Messenger in airplane mode, it'll prompt you to either turn it off or cancel. Any app that requires connection to the internet or wireless service needs access to this.

 

 

If you have any questions, or want to help me kick the Negative-Nancy bloggers, hit me up on twitter - @WebGirlKelsie.

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Just a girl on a mission to get people to educate themselves before forming an opinion.

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