Networking events for IT professionals. Award winning blog series. Weekly podcast. Meet. Read. Listen. By @echodave, @bobwaltenspiel

Seriously, Shut Up About Facebook Messenger Already

0

Originally posted 2014-08-13 11:18:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I don’t normally do this, but you’re not leaving me any choice.

We try really hard to not deep dive into the “geek” stuff because…well, because that’s not how we roll.

But this Facebook Messenger app nonsense is driving me absolutely crazy…so please, before another one of you posts on Facebook announcing that you’re uninstalling it because of the permissions…which does nothing more than prove that you don’t pay attention to ANYTHING that goes on your phone at ALL…especially those of you posting those announcements via the Facebook app from your phone…

b3yajStop it.  Seriously.

You forced me to go do some homework and investigating, and so now I’m annoyed and I don’t feel the need to be nice about it any more.

This whole “Facebook Messenger” thing is getting a bit nuts. People, calm yourselves. You don’t trust the media when it tells you ANYTHING else…but you’ve let them work you into a lather over this? C’mon…

When you install it, just tell it that no, you don’t want it synching contacts with your phone, no, you don’t want it to do anything with your phone number, no, it can’t have access to anything other than Facebook chat, and it’s realistically very little different than what you’re likely already using.

Uber, and quite a few other apps that nobody bats an eyelash at, requests the same permissions. But no, it can’t start calling Botswana without you initiating the call yourself. No, it can’t just automatically turn on your mic and start recording without your knowledge. No, it can’t start taking video while it’s on your nightstand. No, it won’t move your car around the parking lot while you’re inside grocery shopping so that you can’t find it.

It’s actually Google’s fault that those permissions read like they do, not Facebook’s.

Let’s take a look the information made available in the Google Play store regarding the permissions required by the basic Facebook application itself, and compare them to the ones required by Facebook Messenger…you know, just for giggles:

Permissions Required Facebook Facebook Messenger
Device & app history YES YES
retrieve running apps YES YES
find accounts on the device YES YES
read your own contact card YES NO
Contacts/Calendar
read your contacts YES YES
modify your contacts YES NO
read calendar events plus confidential information YES NO
add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge YES NO
Location
precise location (GPS and network-based) YES YES
approximate location (network-based) YES YES
SMS
read your text messages (SMS or MMS) YES YES
receive text messages (MMS) NO YES
send SMS messages NO YES
edit your text messages (SMS or MMS) NO YES
receive text messages (SMS) NO YES
Phone
write call log YES YES
directly call phone numbers YES YES
read call log  YES  YES
Photos/Media/Files
test access to protected storage YES YES
modify or delete the contents of your USB storage YES YES
Camera/Microphone
take pictures and videos YES YES
record audio YES YES
Wi-Fi connection information
view Wi-Fi connections YES YES
Device ID & call information
read phone status and identity YES YES
Other
receive data from Internet YES YES
download files without notification YES YES
adjust your wallpaper size YES NO
create accounts and set passwords YES NO
run at startup YES YES
prevent device from sleeping YES YES
view network connections YES YES
install shortcuts YES YES
change your audio settings YES YES
read Google service configuration YES YES
toggle sync on and off YES NO
draw over other apps YES YES
expand/collapse status bar YES NO
full network access YES YES
change network connectivity YES YES
set wallpaper YES NO
send sticky broadcast YES NO
read battery statistics YES NO
reorder running apps YES NO
connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi YES NO
read sync settings YES NO
control vibration YES YES

Get the picture now?  Unless you’re going to IMMEDIATELY uninstall the basic Facebook application from your phone, you’ve really got nothing to freak out about when it comes to Messenger.

It’s really simple: these permissions are nothing new, and in fact Messenger requires far fewer permissions than the basic Facebook application itself does.

Again: When you install it, just tell it that no, you don’t want it synching contacts with your phone, no, you don’t want it to do anything with your phone number, no, it can’t have access to anything other than Facebook chat, and it’s realistically very little different than what you’re likely already using.

UPDATE 8/17/2014:

What’s that?  You’re going to stay away from those nasty, evil permissions by using the browser on your phone, you say?

That will make it all better, you say?

STOP IT!

Guess what?  Any browser you have installed on your phone, and I don’t care which one it is, basically has the same permission set.  The same ones you’re freaking out about already and then some, and you’ve been using that without batting an eye for…sigh, here’s a snapshot of typical browser permissions:

This app has access to:
Device & app history
  • read your Web bookmarks and history
Identity
  • find accounts on the device
  • add or remove accounts
Location
  • approximate location (network-based)
  • precise location (GPS and network-based)
Photos/Media/Files
  • test access to protected storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Camera/Microphone
  • take pictures and videos
  • record audio
Wi-Fi connection information
  • view Wi-Fi connections
Other
  • receive data from Internet
  • read sync statistics
  • write web bookmarks and history
  • view network connections
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • install shortcuts
  • control Near Field Communication
  • use accounts on the device
  • change your audio settings
  • read Google service configuration
  • toggle sync on and off
  • full network access
  • read sync settings
  • control vibration

So go back to posting memes, or pictures of your food, or whatever else it is that you do on Facebook…but please, for the love of all that’s good in the world…just shut up about this particular topic.

That’s all for this time.  Go read something else: http://www.itinthed.com/read/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: