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  • Posted August 6, 2014 by

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    Facebook Messenger Permissions vs. Privacy Issues


    Facebook claims that its Messenger feature asks the same types of permission as do other similar types of services, and that the recent confusion and controversy behind what it asks for stems from Android's choice of words in describing these permissions.


    Yet, app developers are never able to change permission request wording. So the question remains: does the Facebook's Messenger feature compromise privacy?

    Usually, when apps are downloaded and installed, the app first asks for all necessary permissions before it is fully installed and usable. Users, in turn, must approve the app install and give the app permission in order for it to function.

    Yet, Facebook maintains that the Android operation system is tweaking its permission wording and titles, sometimes using inconsistent descriptions for the same permission.

    Take for example an app that requires use of the camera or microphone on the device. It will ask for the user's permission to possibly "take pictures and video" and "record audio."

    Messenger, upon receiving permission on this request, can then enable voice calls, recording and sending voice clips and videos with sound.

    This type of permission is standard for apps like Snapchat, Line and Skype.

    App users should read the fine print, or at least take note of details in Facebook's request. It specifically states that the app can record audio at any time, without notice.

    Facebook is now working on moving the messaging function out of Facebook, and making it its own app which will also feature an appointment reminder service.

    “In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they'll need to download the Messenger app,” said Facebook in a statement. “As we’ve said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences.”

    Bottom line is that users should be wary downloading the new Facebook Messenger.

    Some permissions outlined in Facebook Messenger's terms of service that users should carefully consider include, but are not limited to:


    • Network connectivity can be      altered at any time by Facebook Messenger.
    • It can dial and call numbers      without notifying the user. This could get expensive if plans have limits      or if international calls are made.
    • Facebook Messenger can send SMS      messages.
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