Facebook Messenger – Don’t Panic


There is a whole lot of furore at the moment at the Facebook Messaging app – and the permissions it’s requesting users to give for them to be able to use it – in fact this story has been doing the rounds for a while – but this week a musician has released a home video of him “explaining” the permissions – and doing a great job of scaremongering while he was at it.

The conspiracy theorists are loving it but in reality the permissions you have to give the messenger app to work sound scary but are no different to the permissions you’ve already given other apps (including the existing FB app, and whatsapp, BBM, Google etc)

It’s just been blown out of proportion as it’s facebook and there have been other privacy issues.


When you add apps it asks for permission to access different things on your phone – which look intrusive, but are actually needed for the app and your phone to work for instance….

Access to your contacts and call log is so that the app recognizes incoming calls and can make out going calls – as you call people directly from the app if you choose to.

Access to texts – for the same reason as above and also so that you can choose to use the messenger app as your text messaging app – so it needs permission to send or it won’t work but that’s an option not a necessity – so it’s needs to “read” your messages to show them to you and “send” them so you can send them.

Access to you camera and photos – that’s so you can share and add photos and videos.

Access to audio recorder – well it’s that or you’ll be ecording silent videos.

Location – that’s because you can (and always have been able to) give your location in chat,

And the bit about them recording without your knowledge/permission – that’s inaccurate  – it’s not in the permissions – if you read the full permissions when you install it’s bit of text covering themselves – what FB actually says is that if YOU install a rogue app (that’s not facebook) onto your phone and it uses their code to access your camera and record without your knowledge or access your data that’s not their fault – you shouldn’t be installing dodgy apps.

None of this is new!

Oh and by the way the permissions for this aren’t that far different to the permissions you’ve already given Facebook to use their standard app and you already agreed to them all when you installed the messenger app previously – The only thing that has really changed is the way Android phones displays the permissions so it’s now more obvious what you’re agreeing too.

So in short nothing has really changed, you haven’t sold your soul, so relax and don’t panic!

Here’s some more links to places explaining this way better than I could:

Mashable: Don’t freak out about the facebook messenger app
Snopes:  Facebook Messenger
Softonic: Why Facebook Messenger permissions aren’t unique or dangerous




Working for Podnosh. But, What is it you do?

The other day I was asked where I worked – Podnosh I replied….which resulted in a  quizzical look and the follow up, “Huh – What do you do?”

This isn’t a unique response – I get it often when I respond to the “Where do you work?” question.  Podnosh – it just  doesn’t resonate with people as much as If I worked for a big retailer and so people can’t make the usual assumptions that they would if I replied “Sainsburys”.

So what is Podnosh – what do we do?

The simple answer would be “We teach people to use the internet”. It’s accurate, technically – but it down playing everything we stand for – and everything else we do.

We work towards making things better.  We do this  by teaching people to use digital skills and online tools to improve things for themselves, be this by building relationships,  teaching better communication skills or improving access to services or social reporting from events –  and we’ll work with anyone. Individuals, big structured organisations or small community groups, and anything in between – anywhere that our support will help make a difference.

We’ve worked alongside individual community volunteers, business managers and staff, cabinet members, councillors and MP’s – and we work even better when we can bring these people together in the same room to learn together and improve their togetherness.

In the past we’ve worked with local authorities to improve perceptions of safety in neighbourhoods, and to improve access to information that will shape cities, with schools to help with online bullying issues, brought people together to forge stronger communities and with councillors to open up the civic conversation to entire communities.

And that’s not even half of it – we’ve supported groups saving heritage building and Women’s groups reach a wider audience. We’ve worked with young people to make them feel part of a community and with scientists who just want to make the world a better place and so much more.

We’re also so very close to finishing developing an app that will really allow us to help people to tell the stories of how they are improving things for the people they work with too – the Podnosh Impact Assessment App. One of our clients Gateway have been using for a while – and we’ve already seen it make a difference in the way they are able to tell the stories of the people they support and the impact they have to their lives.

Making things better

Our company values are Think, Make A Difference and Give A Fuck and we work with those values in mind whatever we do.

Think: Can we help? Are these the right people to be working with? are we the right people for the job?

Make a difference: Will something be improved by our inclusion.

Give A Fuck: care – want to deliver the best we can – for ourselves and the people we work with.

So where do I work?  Podnosh.

What do I do? I think, I make a difference, I give a fuck! – and I’m really proud of that!