SPOKANE, Wash. - Facebook users start bracing for change. The company is getting rid of its regular messaging on your mobile device and requiring you to download the messenger app instead. The change has caused some panic about privacy, but do you really need to worry?
The warning has been showing up on Facebook feeds for the last couple of weeks. If you believe the article making the rounds, the Facebook Messenger app wants to steal all of your information, wants to be able to call your friends without permission and wants to use your camera without your knowledge. It's creepy, right? It would be but it's not entirely true.
Facebook is trying to set the record straight, saying the concerns are unfounded and overblown. Facebook says it doesn't get to set its own policy and permissions for apps; Apple and Android set their policies and the companies have to follow them. Facebook also says the concern comes from outdated language; in December, Android updated the verbiage, but people are still reacting to the outdated information.
Does the messenger have the right to access your camera? Yes, so you can post pictures. It has access to your connectivity so you can enable your WiFi. It just depends on whether or not you trust the company not to abuse the access. If you don't, find another way to message your friends.
Facebook has set up a help center to explain the app and the privacy permissions. It explains why the company requests the access and why granting the access can make your messaging easier.
But, here's the real bottom line: Pretty much every app you download includes the same language and privacy permissions. By downloading an app, you're giving up a certain level of privacy. But, what's being done with Facebook messaging doesn't give Facebook any more rights to your personal information than it already has.