Friday, August 8, 2014

"Big, Bad, Scary" Facebook Messenger

I've had at least 20 friends on my facebook newsfeed show honest concern and fear with the recent changes to the facebook mobile app and being 'forced' to download the facebook messenger app. Most of them have been referring back to one Huffington Post article, "The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service," written by Sam FiorellaPartner, Sensei Marketing; Author, Influence Marketing.

First off, let me start by saying-- this guy is obviously aware of what he is saying. He's a marketing professional, using trigger words as scare tactics to get you riled up about the big scary changes facebook made and continues to make.

Now, on to the meat of the issue. Facebook does not and will not control your phone... the app permissions are generic, and fall in line with other popular apps you may already have on your phone. All this means is that the app will control certain features of your phone when you click on them, within the app itself.



Example 1: In-App Camera
When it says the app will control all functionality of the phone's camera, it means that the camera is being used with the app, not that the camera will turn on and take pictures randomly. A lot of other camera apps share the same permission. Without the permissions, the app itself would error out and fail to work if you clicked on the photo feature.

Example 2: In-App Voice Record
When you choose to use the voice recorder, it means the app will control the functionality of the microphone of your phone, and record whatever it is you're recording, and send the recording as soon as you're done recording, without you needing to do anything else with the phone. It doesn't mean the app will randomly start recording your voice at any given moment. Other voice recording apps share the same permission.

They are very generic permissions, and a lot of facebook-change-haters are hopping on the bandwagon again, to nay-say and scare everyone out of supporting the newest change to facebook. All they do is bold the scary wording and leave out the simpleness of it all. They don't show you just how many apps are worded exactly the same way.

This is one comment that I happen to agree with, and also happens to have a reply from the article's author:

Again, you will see him using words and phrases (once you give permission, automatically, hacker) to give you an uneasy feeling. It's important to know that when you download an app and give it the specific permissions it needs to work, it is given strictly to that app and that app alone. The permissions do not carry over to other apps under the developer, the permissions are not applicable to any other app in your library, and the permissions do not allow a developer to pull your information via the app and implant it anywhere else.

Example 3: Outlook Email
Outlook is an app on your computer. It is an email service application. That app uses the information from other email services (such as your company's email, yahoo, gmail, and hotmail) to be fed through it. That doesn't mean that Excel or PhotoShop will have your email contact information. That doesn't mean I can get your information from Outlook. It just means you can use all your email addresses in one place, out of convenience.

I'm not an author or professor or licensed professional... I'm not an employee of facebook, I'm just using my head. I'm offering a common sense response to someone who is clearly trying to scare the masses of facebook, and sadly, it seems to be working.

Disagreeing with me is fine, but saying mean, rude, or hurtful things is not. If you have questions for me, I'm here. If you have questions about the app, contact facebook!

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