These days most people are pretty suspicious when Facebook introduces anything new. The latest thing freaking everyone out is the site’s messenger app, which they are basically forcing you to download if you ever want to chat with your Facebook friends using your smartphone.
Well, people have suddenly gone a little crazy over reports the new app gives Facebook control of your phone, although experts say that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, the new app really isn’t any more invasive that the regular Facebook app, or other apps in general.
The whole controversy started after a Huffington Post blog took issue with the message Android users get when they install the app, which asks for permission to access the phone’s camera, microphone, list of contacts and other things. The blog claimed that meant the app was taking “direct control over your mobile device,” but that’s just a myth.
Here’s the truth, the terms of service for Facebook Messenger, is exactly the same as all the other Facebook terms of service. And while the app needs access to lots of your personal data, it isn’t any more than what most messaging apps ask for. Some people were worried the app wanted access to your microphone to record you, but in reality it needs access for voice calling, something the regular Facebook app doesn’t do. And the same thing with the camera, if you want to send pictures to your friends, it needs access to your camera.
But if you’re still paranoid about Facebook Messenger, there is a solution - don’t download it. Sure you won’t be able to send messages to your Facebook friends using your phone, but you’ll still be able to do it on your iPad and your desktop, so you won’t be completely cut of from them. And if that’s not good enough, you know, you can always pick up the phone and call.