So What’s the Real Deal Behind the Facebook Messenger App?

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There’s been a lot of talk around the Internet over the last couple of weeks about Facebook Messenger, the new app that allows iOS and Android users to send and receive Facebook private messages via their Smartphones or tablets. This app has been called everything from a pirate to just plain evil. What’s the real deal?

About Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is a stand-alone app that allows Smartphone and tablet users to send and receive private, instant messages (IMs) via their mobile devices. It’s been around for a couple of years, but Messenger has come to the forefront lately because Facebook is ceasing to support IMs in their general application and is reminding users (rather incessantly) that they need to download Messenger to retain that functionality.

The case against Messenger

The controversy involving the Facebook Messenger App surrounds giving Facebook access to information stored on your phone, information that you’ve not specifically listed on Facebook. However, according to the “Wall Street Journal,” the outcry stems largely from Android’s policy of not letting each app creator (such as Facebook) list its own terms of service. Instead, they have to pick from a laundry list of generic terms. According to Facebook, some of the permissions requested include allowing the app to take picture so that you can share them with your friends, recording audio so you can send voice messages and directly calling numbers, so you can just tap a contact’s name on the app to initiate a call.

The truth is that most of the permissions asked of the Messenger app are permissions you’ve probably already given Facebook when you originally started using the social media site on your mobile device. In fact, Mashable advises Facebook users not to “freak out” about the new Messenger conversion, that the app doesn’t ask anything of its users different from what the basic Facebook app asks.

The bottom line? While Facebook’s “You gotta download it now” marketing technique is annoying and borders on spamming, the app really isn’t asking anything that’s new in terms of permissions. Plus, if you want to keep instant messaging your friends via Facebook while you’re on the go, there really isn’t an alternative.

Post by Terri-Ann Cormier

 

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