Facebook has been slowly pushing its users to download Facebook Messenger, a new mobile app designed to make it easier for you to talk with your Facebook friends. Instead of having to open the Facebook app users simply click on Messenger, type what they want to say and hit send.
Some people were annoyed at having to download yet another app but for the most part, they did it with no questions asked. That was until Huffington Post reported on Messenger's Android Terms of Service (which most people probably don't read) and said that the app requests a ton of personal information including the ability to send text messages and make phone calls without your knowledge.
"Facebook's Messenger App requires the acceptance of an alarming amount of personal data and, even more startling, direct control over your mobile device," the Huffington Post's Sam Fiorella wrote.
According to Fiorella, some of the things Messenger can do:
- Change the state of network connectivity
-Call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation
-Send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation
-Record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation
-Take pictures and video with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation
-Read your phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge
-Read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals
-Access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call
While this may be startling, Facebook claims it needs the information for very specific reasons. For example, if a person wants to send a picture to a Facebook friend then the app obviously needs to access your photos, and if you want to send a voice message then the app would need permission to record the audio.
Still some Facebook users are uneasy with the amount of information the app is requesting and either won't download it or have deleted Messenger. As the Washington Post points out, there are a lot of other apps that request personal data but most people are unaware of it.
Despite the concerns, Messenger has been downloaded over 1,000,000,000 times, the Huffington Post reports.