Well surprise, surprise. Facebook is once again terrifying the entire planet.
You might have noticed a prompt to download Facebook’s Messenger App on your mobile phone recently. The social media giant intends to force all of its users to download it if you wish to continue checking your messages without a computer.
The problem with its app is the sketchy terms and service agreement that comes with it. And given that the app already boasts over 1 billion downloads, you should know what you’re being
forced asked to agree to. Here are, word for word, just a few of the most unsettling permissions you must accept:
- Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
So if you’ve already installed the app, that’s what you just agreed to. Before you panic though, we did a little research to see if this is all really as alarming as it sounds.
According to reports by Global News, the wording of permissions is controlled at the back-end by the developer. In other words, Android or iOS are the ones writing these permissions, not Facebook. Facebook’s help page also states that the way permissions are written “doesn’t necessarily reflect the way the Facebook app uses them.”
For example, the app also allows for Facebook to download files without notification, which is apparently used to “improve the app experience by pre-loading News Feed content.” Here are some of Facebook’s other official explanations:
Bottom line: Should you be scared? Probably not (“probably” being the key word here). But that doesn’t mean you should download these apps blindly either. Read the agreements, get the facts and make your own decisions.
At least then you know what you’re getting yourself into.