The Crazy Facebook Messenger App Rules and a Safe Way to Install

Facebook Messanger

Messenger

Last week Facebook turned off the Messenger within the main app to force the masses to download the new app. As I mentioned before, this is to control your phone’s contact list and ultimately your phone itself.

But recent issues cropped up stating the apps terms of conditions were a little seedy. The talked about how when you install the app, it tries to take over your contacts. Within the small print, they found the app could use your information to their advantage.

One policy would allow Facebook to message your contacts without your knowledge. I would guess that was to allow the Facebook notifications and Inbox to alert of new messages.Further, the app could take over your camera and audio at any time. This can get spun into a state where people would be in fear that Facebook might just turn your phone on at any time and record.

Facebook’s Defense

Facebook states the Android permissions force them to make scandalous-sounding policies within their app. Still, if you send Joe Schmoe a message, Facebook could send SMS or voice call messages to him. Something that you can easily opt out of.

I am reading a large thread by Robert Scoble who is defending the new app. In his case, he responds to almost any text or call sent to him – and he gets thousands a day. The features of messenger help him out. He likes how the program organizes his content so he can respond better. Something that or SMS messaging can’t do.

Reply from a Maverick

A few replies from this thread came from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who said “When you hit send on a text or fb messenger message, you lose ownership, but you don’t lose responsibility. You have no idea who keeps your messages and what they may do with them. They all lose context. There are people with five year old messages that seemed meaningless at the time. Anything reposted on social media can be given whatever context the poster wants. That is risky.”

I installed the Facebook Messenger app on my phone over the weekend. The 13 MB app (for Android)installs quick and easy. It then took me into a settings area where I was asked to sync contacts with my phone. I said “Not Now”.

The app then asked me for my phone number. I said “Not Now”. It double-checked in which I said “Skip”. I then had messenger on my device without it taking over the phone functions.

Why is Facebook doing this?

Simple – Google and Facebook are in a fight to take over the phone side of your phone. The path to a numberless phone has begun and it all starts with the contact list.

Google has done this with the “Hangouts” app in Android Kit Kat. You are giving them very similar permissions including location, reading and modifying your contacts, taking pictures and recording audio, sending broadcasts and more.

If you look at the Privacy Policy to Google, they state they will share to affiliates that follow the policy, and could share information if “we have a good-faith belief that access, use preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary”.

That means if I was planning an attack, tried to conduct a fraudulent transaction, or something of the sort, Google will send this information to officials to arrest and prosecute.

Similar to what happens on the shows Criminal Minds, CSI or Law and Order when they use your phone to find out what you have been doing or where you are right now.

Facebook is taking things a step further by trying to control the phone call. For example, I was messaging a friend the other day. He decided to call, so within the messenger app he pressed the phone icon. I then got a strange phone ring which I later realized it was from Messengers’ IP protocol.

His experience was not that great because he got an echo of his voice, which if anyone has ever dealt with, knows it can be hard to talk if you’re hearing your voice a half second later.

In all reality, there are a few apps out there that try to control the contacts and the way you make a phone call. You can easily use them instead of Messenger or Hangouts. But you will have to adhere to their policies.

He who controls your data wins. If you want to live in this digital world, you have to live with this fact. We have organizations like the FCC to help control what happens.

Bottom line – Facebook is not going to peek on you in the shower with their app. But if you are planning an attack, that could be a different story…

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