Facebook Messenger Is Not the Only App with Scary Permission Requirements

facebook messenger app and permissions

The Facebook Messenger app is an individual app that is a version of the instant chat feature found on Facebook. In April 2014 Facebook announced that this service would no longer be available in the main app and that users would have to download the separate Messenger app to be able to access messages and the chat options.

Facebook’s Messenger App, which millions of monthly users, requires you to allow access to personal data and, direct control over your mobile device.

Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it?

An article in Washington Post discussed the permissions and what they mean exactly.

In Facebook’s defense, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for requesting these permissions. Messenger needs access to your camera, for instance, so that you can send pictures, and few people would want to confirm microphone access every time they use the app to place a call.

These kinds of sweeping permissions are also extremely common — probably to a degree you don’t realize. Even the most vanilla apps collect extraordinary amounts of personal data: WeatherBug requests permission to view your Wi-Fi network and other devices connected to it; RunKeeper wants permission to read your contacts and call log; even the Kim Kardashian game, which is all the rage these days, logs your location, your device ID, and your incoming calls.

As with Messenger, the Kardashian game may have a valid reason to know when you get phone calls. (For instance, to save your spot before a call interrupts gameplay.)

But at the same time, consumers’ unease is understandable, particularly since so few of us have any idea what we give apps permission to do. According to one study, it would take the average person 250 hours a year to read every terms of service he encounters on the daily — which justifies why fewer than one in 10 people actually read the terms in full.

The permission requests may seem a bit scary and over-the-top, but so are the permission requirements of every other popular messaging app that’s available. That’s essentially part of using FREE apps. Free apps may not cost you out of pocket, but they are generating tons of revenue by delivering advertising that is customized to your preferences and internet experiences.

In the end, if you want something to remain private – it should not be on social media, online or on your smartphone. Anything you save on any program or device has permissions attached to it, somewhere.

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