Look, we all know Facebook is evil. So is Microsoft. So is Google. So is every other Internet company out there, except maybe Apple. No, we lied, even Apple is evil. Facebook, however, seems to get most of the world’s ire when it comes to invasion of privacy, half-assed policy changes without notice and other issues that have cropped up in the last five years.
Truth be told, Facebook Messenger is no different from most other apps you’re using on your phone now. So, stop stressing about Facebook Messenger and change how you live your life. Easier said than done, right?
Why Facebook Messenger’s Permissions Aren’t a Big Deal
At any given moment, no matter what type of phone or tablet you use, you can be tracked. Whether it’s the government tracking you, your provider tracking you or an app tracking you, it’s being done with or without your permission. It’s just made easier because most consumers just click “Accept” any time they see it pop up on their screen when installing various apps and games on their phone. Heck, even when you do an Android or iOS software update, you’re giving both companies permission to access and use similar features on your phone.
In fact, let’s a do comparison between Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts. Consumers seem to forget that when Google changed from Talk to Hangouts, that they essentially forced users into the Google+ style of chat, similar to how Facebook is now forcing users to utilize Messenger.
- Check out Facebook Messenger’s permissions in the Google Play Store here.
- Check out Google Hangouts’ permissions in the Google Play Store here.
Facebook Messenger asks for permission to utilize 31 areas of your phone or service; Google Hangouts asks for 33. 25 of those permissions are the same between both services, yet I’ve seen no outrage over Google Hangouts, just Facebook Messenger. In fact, if you look at the oddball permissions that don’t overlap between the two apps, you’re basically using the same exact thing.
The point is that if you’re going to complain about Facebook Messenger permissions, then you need to do the same thing for Google Hangouts and any other chat app that needs access to your phone – privacy be damned – to work. Why does Facebook Messenger need access to your SMS or MMS? Because that’s the protocol it used to send and receive messages. Why does Google Hangouts need to add or remove contacts? On Android devices, phone contacts can be backed up, along with changed through your Google Account then synced to your phone.
There’s an answer for everything when you go down the list of things each app needs permission to in order to work properly and do it jobs. Are all the permissions necessary? Most likely. Will we ever know if that’s true? Probably not. The fact remains that if you want to live in the day and age of mobile technology, there’s give and take.
If you’re going to complain about how Facebook Messenger is the end of privacy as we know it, then you need to go through every app on your phone, tablet and other devices and look through each and every permission. Figure out why it’s needed, figure out if it’s necessary and then decide if your privacy is worth worrying over something that you use everyday. For most of us, it’s not.
If you want to avoid privacy issues, don’t use your phone. It really is that simple. But how many of us can live without our phones and mobile devices? Not many. Privacy is an illusion now whether we want to accept that or not and until we stop using the very devices – not just the apps – we’re just continuing the cycle.
I fully expect the masses to comment, tell me I’m an idiot, throw me under a bus, and possibly hurl expletives my way. I don’t care. If you’re concerned about your privacy in a world that doesn’t care about it from the government down to your next door neighbor, either ditch your phone or accept that we live in a world where the concept of privacy no longer exists.
And please stop stressing about Facebook Messenger, there’s probably worse apps with permissions worth worrying about on your phone that you’re using anyway. We don’t really love Facebook, but we’d like our readers to look at the facts and make an informed decision.