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Facebook Messenger app sparks new privacy issues


Facebook’s given its user base approximately one week to download the new messaging app in which texting abilities are being separated from the core Facebook app. Some users that have already downloaded the Facebook Messenger app are finding it to be offensive.

One Facebook user in particular said that she is outraged at the privacy approvals users must give Facebook in order to download the Facebook Messenger app. “It makes me feel really angry. I think it’s a complete invasion of my privacy. We are growing up in a digital age but it’s hard knowing that everything you do is followed. It’s weird that Facebook and other apps are getting involved in your phone. It’s weird that I completely overlooked it,” she told CBS 6 News.

Facebook’s new Messenger app is designed to let you text other Facebook friends, but you have to give away some privacy in order to gain texting capabilities. Here are the permissions you must give the new Facebook Messenger app:

  • Identity
      • Find accounts on the device
      • Read your own contact card
  • Contacts/Calendar
    • Read your contacts
  • Location
    • Approximate location (network-based)
    • Precise location (GPS and network-based)
  • SMS
    • Edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
    • Receive text messages (SMS)
    • Read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • Phone
    • Directly call phone numbers
  • Photos/Media/Files
    • Read the contents of your USB storage
    • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  • Camera/Microphone
    • Take pictures and videos
    • Record audio
  • Wi-Fi connection information
    • View Wi-Fi connections

These permissions do not count others, such as the permission to give Facebook full network access to your phone and to even “change network connectivity.” For all of these permissions, you can view them by going to the Facebook Messenger app at Google Play, then scroll down to the section above “Google Play Content” that says “permissions.”

While some are what normal apps require, we have to admit: the “edit and read your text messages,” as well as “record audio” permissions are a little weird for Facebook Messenger. If the company wants to learn more about its users, we’re not sure this is such a good idea.

The best advice we can give users is this: read the permissions before agreeing to download the app. If these permissions make you feel uncomfortable, or if you think they give Facebook too much control, then do not download it. If you downloaded it in the past and you now feel uncomfortable, then the best thing to do is to use a carrier messaging app such as Verizon’s Message+, or some other carrier app that you think does a better job at maintaining privacy (FaceTime, or iMessage, for example). It’s likely the case that Instagram comes with many of the same permissions as Facebook Messenger.

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