Facebook is no stranger to changing things up every now and then with their ultra-popular social networking site. Whether it’s changing the way our profiles are displayed, or trying to make an entire phone dedicated for their website, the company has had both their victories and their losses when it comes to them experimenting with the site. Most recently, we’ve heard reports that Facebook will be making an entirely new application specifically for posting on friends’ Walls. With this bit of news in tow, Facebook has also announced that they will be making some changes to how they’ll be handling their messaging service from here on out.
For a few months now, Facebook has been putting more of a push onto their Messenger app for mobile devices. Recently, if you have both the standard Facebook app and Messenger app for your Android or iOS device, selecting one of your messages via the Facebook app will automatically prompt you to the Messenger app. If you don’t have the Messenger app installed, you can still access your messages via the standard Facebook app. That is bound to change soon though with these recent changes Facebook is making. Soon, you will have to download the Facebook Messenger app if you want to be able to access your messages at all. The app itself works great, but this new attention towards the app has caused a bit of concern among privacy finnatics. Here are a few specific listings from the Terms of Service for the Facebook Messenger application:
- Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity – The app can turn your phone connections on and off without telling you.
- 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 – The app can call phone numbers within your call log without your permission. If you have paid minutes, this will count against them.
- 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 – The app can message anyone it likes without asking your permission and cost you money if you don’t have a texting plan.
- 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 you phone’s call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
- 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. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
- Allows the app to access the phone features of the device – This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
- Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone – This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed, such as Instagram, Vine, Twitter and more.
As you can see, there’s great reason for people to be up in arms about all of these permissions of which the app requires of its users. The exact date as to when Facebook will make the upcoming changes to this app is yet to be announced, but we can expect it to land soon. With all of the concerns about Internet privacy that have been floating around recently, this definitely doesn’t help the public appearance of Facebook as a company at all.