Friday, August 8, 2014

Question about Facebook Messenger permissions

*raises hand*

Everyone is really upset about the permissions required for the Facebook Messenger app. All the articles I've read tell what those permissions are, and why I should be offended and opposed. But I haven't found one that talks about how (or if) they're any different from the permissions I already gave Facebook.

Example - I synched my Facebook contacts with my phone contacts. That means if my Facebook friend shares his/her phone number or email address, Facebook added it to my contact list. I can now use my SMS app, phone app, email apps tp contact my friend, all thanks to Facebook.

But, presumably the Facebook app needed permission to read my contacts and personal profile information to make that happen. It would also need to be able to find the various email and SMS apps, to help me make the contact.

The same is true if I want to use Facebook to take or share a photo or video. It has to be able to identify and interact with those apps in order to read and share the file.

As for changing "the state of network connectivity" - if I've told Facebook to keep me available, or to refresh every 30 minutes, doesn't it need to be able to connect?

I'm not suggesting that the permissions aren't excessive, or that people should use the app. I'm just saying that I think Facebook's reasons are more about making its app function properly, and less about using my phone to randomly call my contacts. I also wonder how different the permissions are from those I've given previously.

To be fair, I installed the app - and I hate it. It uses chat heads, and I find it creepy to have little thumbnail photos following me no matter where I go. But - I have friends who prefer it over texting... and sometimes, a person has to compromise.