Facebook Messenger’s Privacy Concerns Have Users Outraged


The Facebook Messenger for mobile devices has caused outrage among users regarding concern for their privacy settings. In their defense, the social network claims it will give the user increased control over the settings. Now anyone who attempts to access the “Chat with Friends” feature on their cellular device is greeted with the message “We’ve moved over to Messenger.”

Concerns developed after Google Play’s feature description for the Facebook Messenger listed that installing the app will grant it access to find other accounts on the device, and go through the user’s contact list. The permissions also allow Facebook to delete and modify files on USB storage, download files without notification and record voice, videos and take pictures.

This has made users skeptical about how the social network will enact its terms of service. In response to these contentions, Facebook published a blog post and “Get the Facts” in its mobile app to disclose why it needs these permissions. They explained that nearly all applications on mobile devices seek user consent to run various features in the app. For instance, when a person wants to “Check In” on their Facebook profile, the app needs permission to access the geographical location of your device, so it can narrow down the options which are listed.

Installing the Facebook Messenger also gives the social media site permission to send text messages and make phone calls from the user’s device. While Facebook agrees that the Messenger requests permission to run certain features so it can make calls, send photos, videos or voice messages, neither the camera nor microphone will turn on if the app is not being used. “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.”

This explanation only addresses concerns about Facebook accessing the phone’s features. However, users are still outraged about Facebook Messenger robbing their privacy and are raising concerns about granting access to the contact list, phone logs and text messages; it does not appear legitimate. While they claim that the data collected will not be used for any devious purposes, earlier this summer Facebook revealed that they tinkered with users’ emotions. In an attempt to better the news feed algorithm, they manipulated the news feeds of half a million users. As part of their psychological study to observe how emotions today can also spread through social media, they changed the number of positive and negative posts these randomly selected users saw.

Back then, the company said users give consent to this kind of manipulation when they agree to its terms of service. Based on this revelation, there is the possibility that Facebook may use the same ploy again, gathering sensitive personal information from users who agree to download the Facebook Messenger and give it access to their log files. Nick Summer at The Next Web is rightly skeptical: “The same promises did not hold back Google and the NSA.” The latest change of Facebook Messenger is part of a series of features the company is rolling out. They are also testing a feature on mobile devices, which will allow users to search across old postings with a keyword input.

Unfortunately for the skeptics, Facebook is no longer giving users an option. So users can either opt to download the Facebook Messenger app, or they will not be able to exchange messages with their friends via the Facebook app at all. This has caused outrage among users who have concerns that with Facebook Messenger, their privacy is something they no longer have control over.

By Nilofar Neemuchwala

The Next Web
New York Times
Daily Mail

7 Responses to "Facebook Messenger’s Privacy Concerns Have Users Outraged"

  1. Bobby Smith   September 15, 2014 at 5:27 am

    I think a large reason for these internet companies arrogantly manipulate their customers/product users is the fact they’re virtually untouchable because you can’t physically address them as you would any standard business. They seem to all have the “What are you going to do about it?” attitude. Maybe I’m just old school, but sometimes people need to be reminded that there are still people in the world who will snatch you up by the throat and beat the sense out of you. Lol

  2. We'r'We   September 5, 2014 at 7:35 am

    1- Go on your browser (if you dont know what this is well… Maybe you should just stick with the Messenger App… Hold on for a second… ! You have a thing called the INTERNET on your device)
    2- type: http://www.facebook.com
    3- Add to you home screen on your cell/tablet
    4- click on the new icon (facebook icon you just created on YOUR HOME Screen)
    5- Access Facebook like you always did!

    5 Easy steps if you have any concerns.

    Thank me later… No need… Where were you all along?

    Smart phones does not make smart people 😉

    Think wise!

    • Kemon   March 20, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Duh!!! Didn’t even consider that. Thanks.

  3. Barbara Leighton   September 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I see people on Twitter telling others to GOOGLE IT!, if you want to know about the STORY their Tweeting, about! My Question is,” You mean IF you Only Want To Know what, Google wants you to READ & KNOW~~~~~?

  4. lindamramos   September 4, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I think if you pay close attention to all your apps on your phone, you will notice many, if not all, require those permissions. Giving FB permission to access your camera allows you to click the little camera button on the bottom of your messenger, take a pic and send it quickly vs closing messenger, opening camera, saving pic, opening messenger, uploading pic. It’s either that or you would get a .. “do you give fb permission to use your camera” every time you click on the picture button. I do not worry about these things. I knew just by having a cell phone, I was opening myself up to less privacy like gps tracking, pictures being tagged, etc. I do however keep my data, and gps off unless I am actively using it at that time. This eliminates those 3am downloads or updates my phone apps tend to attempt without my knowledge.

  5. j   September 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Im not a conspiracy type person or anything but I do see the writing on the wall before it gets here and Honestly think about it .. why does it need your permission to turn it on to send a selfie ? I mean really stop and think about it your there taking the selfie so you tell it to upload . So it really dont .. now there saying it does why does it you there doing it .now for it to access your phones .. mic.. camera .. sd card .. without your permission or knowledge is crazy . Its like giving a person you see walking down the street one of your credit cards and all its info and hope that they dont use it .. I myself have a watch dog app on my phone to see what app is working and accessing what and how much data each use .. and when it tracked facebook accessing my phones mic..camera . And gps at 3.30 in the morning with nobody anywhere neer it is was sitting on my desk charging I just got completely miffed and Uninstalled all of face book on my phone . Done its not worth the privacy risk or invasion especially with someone with such a checkerd past as zuckerberg . I mean can you really trust someone that continues to lie? And face book honestly was fun because it wasn’t so commercial and now it places adds that most of us dont want or even care about its a bunch of usless information that keeps your mind looking one way as there other hand in reaching into you wallet and mind mean while you let them walk all over our rights as people of the United States. There reaching in a bit too deep . We do need to put our foot down rather its with face book or any other one . I mean our rights . We have every right to know where and whom they send our personal information to and why and we have that right to refuse there request in any manner . As for the government its intrapment them using and means to get info on you without a warrant and with them doing what there doing with face hook there getting right into you home without you even knowing or even given your right as being served with a warrant from a judge with him saying there is probable cause . Now with face hook they just turn your phone one with out getting that judges signing off of probable cause we better wake up soon or it will be too late .

  6. Steve   September 3, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    You guys are cry babies….do you think the regular FB app doesn’t use permissions too? ALL APPS USE PERMISSIONS….STOP CRYING….babies…do you think using FB on a computer is private too? Do you think those pictures you upload in your bikini are private? Get a grip


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