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: