As of Aug. 6, 2014, Facebook Messenger has become required for just about every single person that is using the Facebook app. As Cosmopolitan reported, not everyone actually reads through the Terms of Service, but perhaps they should have in this case. Reports like that are what gets everyone nervous and terrified, but is the agreement any worse than anything else out there?
A report from the Huffington Post from back in December of 2013 has been circulating around again, and it has people freaking out. Snopes took a harder and deeper look at this situation, and it doesn't seem to be as bad as everyone is really thinking.
The report explains certain aspects of Facebook Messenger's Terms of Service (TOS), and goes into detail of what kind of personal information they can take control of. Here is just some of the personal data that the app gets a hold of:
- Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity
- Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls.
- Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges.
- Allows the app to record audio with microphone.
- Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera.
- Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls.
- Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
- Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information.
- Allows the app to access the phone features of the device.
- Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone.
Seems rather bad and intrusive, doesn't it? Even though this could greatly freak someone out into thinking that Facebook Messenger is taking over your phone from afar, it appears as if this isn't all that uncommon.
Other apps usually require the same amount of information or very similar things to what Facebook Messenger app is asking for. The problem is that no-one ever took the time to dissect the Terms of Service for Angry Birds or The Weather Channel or anything like that.
The Weather Channel accesses your Wi-Fi and other networks attached to it. The Kim Kardashian game makes logs of incoming calls, your location, and more. The thing is that these "intrusions" are needed to run the apps properly.
If you accept them, you accept them. Everyone is just freaking out about the TOS for Facebook Messenger because they've read through them due to it being so popular. One thing that needs to be realized is that without accepting the TOS and allowing Facebook Messenger to access all these things, then it wouldn't run at all.
It needs access to your camera to send pics you likely always send.
It needs access to your microphone to send video and audio messages.
It needs access to your contacts and phone function so you can make calls to those connected between your contacts and Facebook friends.
These things and other functions that Facebook Messenger's Terms of Service wants to "take control" of is so that they will work when users initiate them. You've got to access the functions and then Facebook Messenger joins in to help.