Facebook claims mobile app does not invade privacy
Facebook Claims Messenger “Privacy Invasion” False
September 8, 2014  //  By:   //  Investigative Reports  //  No Comment

(Story by Carol Thompson) There’s been a lot of concern over privacy issues with the new Facebook messenger app, however, Facebook claims those concerns are overstated.

Soon, the app will be required for all iPhone and Android users.

Fears have spread across the Internet about the app being invasive and able to access personal information such as phone contacts and there have been concerns that the app can eavesdrop on conversations.

Facebook has denied the allegations and issued a statement in regard to the concerns.

It reads, “You might have heard the rumors going around about the Messenger app. Some have claimed that the app is always using your phone’s camera and microphone to see and hear what you’re doing. These reports aren’t true, and many have been corrected. Still, we want to address some concerns you might have.”

It continues, “Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages. If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone’s camera and capture that photo. We don’t turn on your camera or microphone when you aren’t using the app.”

The Associated Press recently published five myths about the messenger app. According to AP, while you’re required to use the app on the iPhone or Android, you aren’t required to use it on other devices such as desktops, laptops, iPad or Facebook mobile.

The AP also reported that contrary to what many believe, the terms of service are not different than for all its mobile apps.

As for the microphone recording users, AP states, “The app needs permission to use your phone’s microphone and camera. But it requires that access because the microphone is needed for voice calling, a service that the standalone app offers that the Facebook app doesn’t, and sending sound with videos. Same with the camera, it needs access if you want to send your friends pictures.”

The concern many users have raised is that Facebook will direct the app to send SMS, or text, messages without your permission.

AP claims the reality is that one of the permissions does say that Facebook can edit, receive, read and send SMS messages. “But the company says the reason it wants to send and receive SMS messages is so that if you add a phone number to your Messenger account, you can confirm by a confirmation code that Facebook sends via text message.”

The final myth that AP dispelled is that the messenger app is new. It has been around since 2011, according to the AP, and has been used in Europe.

Despite the assurances, the app has a 1.5 rating on iTunes and the Internet is swarming with user complaints. Those using the specific mobile devices won’t be able to access messenger from their phone without the app.

The Facebook statement concludes, “We’re committed to providing a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use to reach the people who matter to them. That’s why we’re focusing just on Messenger and moving messages out of the Facebook app.”

Here’s what you need to know about the Freedom of Information Act.

(Image: Flickr | marcopako)


About the Author :

Carol Thompson is a veteran investigative reporter residing in central New York. She spent 23 years with a local newspaper, The Valley News, before leaving for the Syracuse New Times, and now, VNN. Thompson has won dozens of first-place awards for investigative reporting and was the 2006 recipient of the Syracuse Press Club’s prestigious Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award. Thompson’s reporting has resulted in the arrest of public officials and has prompted policy changes. She uncovered two money laundering schemes that traveled the globe and resulted in the indictments of several developers.