Facebook has seemingly been trying to scare users with its app permissions for years now. If it doesn’t want access to your camera it will certainly want access to your contacts. The Facebook Messenger app often comes under scrutiny for its long list of permissions, so now Facebook has created a help page specifically for explaining some of its more worrisome requests.
In the article you will notice things like “take pictures”, “record audio” and “read your contacts”, evoking paranoid thoughts of cold-war espionage and Big Brother-esque monitoring. The reason Facebook needs these is unlikely to be as troubling. As Facebook points out, if you wish to take and send a photograph without leaving the App, Facebook Messenger allows you to do this, and that's why it asks for the permission. It's a similar story for recording audio and directly calling phone numbers, the app provides a way for you to do these things, but first you need to tell your smartphone/tablet that it is okay for the app to do it.
We are right to be sceptical of the all-too-often overlooked permission requests from apps, especially where things like reading contacts is concerned, or sending and receiving text messages, so it’s pleasing to see both a public outcry for clarification and a constructive response. So it’s all good, right?
- Here you can find our our app permissions explained article.
Well, overlooking the fact that Facebook hasn't given us the complete list of the app permissions (upon downloading the app there are 31), we also don’t know if these are the only uses for each of these permissions. In fact, the uses that Facebook describes are almost certainly not the only ways in which our phones/information are being used. Facebook has vowed to update their app permissions page with more information, but I doubt we will ever receive a completely transparent explanation of everything Facebook does with our phones and data. Still, it seems that the list of permissions are pretty much in line with the functionality of the app, so I wouldn't worry too much.
What do you think of the Facebook messenger app and its permissions?