There has been a lot of attention given to the “new” Facebook messenger phone app and we’ve had a few people asking questions about what exactly the new app can / cannot do. Hopefully this quick article will explain some of the main issues / concerns and clear up a bit of the confusion surrounding the launch.
If you’re looking for a quick answer, here goes: Install the app and use it the same way you used the last Facebook app. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about you enough to spy on you, no matter how sure you are that the world revolves around you personally.
Myth Number 1: Facebook wants to access my camera and spy on me.
The terms and conditions for the application are written in rather scary legalese and we can see why this could cause some confusion but there’s a very simple reason why the Messenger app needs permission to use your phone’s camera and audio recording functions: You can send audio / video messages through the app. This is the exact same permission that everyone has given Instagram without batting an eye. Any app that has video and photo functionality is going to need these same permissions.
Myth Number 2: Facebook wants to steal my contact list.
The Messenger application features deep integration into the operating system of your phone, this allows some pretty cool features like syncing peoples display photos from Facebook to your contact list. Ever notice how some people seem to magically have photo icons next to their names? You can thank Facebook messenger for that. They aren’t trying to steal your contact list, they are just integrating the data publicly shared on Facebook directly into your contact list.
Myth Number 3: The new Terms of Service are much different than the other Facebook app.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but for every additional service added into the application (video / voice calling / picture messaging) the ToS will have to change to reflect that. The ToS is surprisingly similar to the Facebook App ToS even with these new features added.
Myth Number 4: The app is going to text all my friends without my permission.
The new app requests text messaging permission in order to do verification if you add a second phone number. That is all.
Myth Number 5: Why are they springing this new app on us now?
Theres a few problems with this idea, first of all this app isn’t “new” by any means, it was launched in 2011. The main reason they are forcing users to adopt a second app is that the functionality has separated enough from the Facebook application that it warrants its own standalone application.