Facebook demystifies Messenger app permissions

by: Robert TriggsAugust 12, 2014
Facebook Messenger permissions

Having been issued with a 7 day grace period to switch over to a new messaging app before the old chat service shuts down, some users have been a little apprehensive about installing another Facebook app, complete with a new set of permissions.

Understanding that some users are sceptical about giving apps free roam through their pictures, messages, and contacts, Facebook has added a new page to its help section explaining exactly what the new Messenger app needs and uses these permissions for, and it all appears above board. Here’s what Facebook had to say:

  • Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts
  • Record audio: This permission allows you to send voice messages, make free voice calls, and send videos within Messenger
  • Directly call phone numbers: This permission allows you to call a Messenger contact by tapping on the person’s phone number, found in a menu within your message thread with the person
  • Receive text messages (SMS): If you add a phone number to your Messenger account, this allows you to confirm your phone number by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message
  • Read your contacts: This permission allows you to add your phone contacts as Messenger contacts if you choose to do so. You can always stop syncing your phone contacts by going to your Messenger settings

However, the list does not include all of the permissions requested by Facebook’s Messenger app, although the company may update the page with further explanations in the future.

Facebook was also keen to point out that the names of Android’s permissions don’t always accurately reflect the way that apps use these permissions, and granted, they can be rather broad.

Would you like to see companies be a little more transparent about the types of permissions they require and what they are actually used for, or is this all a worry about nothing?

  • SandPox

    decompile app and we will know all

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Yes I would like most apps that use a lot of permissions to explain. Especially the ones that look dodgy

  • Gaja

    But the fact that they use a permission for one thing, doesn’t mean they don’t use the collected data for other things too, like spying, tracking people..

    • derp hurr-durr

      “doesn’t mean they don’t”

      It’s Facebook – it obviously means they *do*. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

      Of course, this is mitigated slightly by the fact that if you are on this site, it is pretty much guaranteed your data is already everyone else’s business – so what’s one more app? (You likely use connected mobile devices, you likely use one or more social apps, you likely have accounts on one or more social sites such as this one….etc..)

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying to stop doing any of that – I, too use Android, social apps, site accounts, and more. I just don’t fool myself into believing my data is somehow still private.

    • Mike Gann

      seriously though, why the hell is everyone so paranoid about this. if someone wants to spy and track you, they will. but why would anyone care about someone with the handle “Gaja” anyway. are you important? lets say we did live in a crazy universe where an evil company called facebook was installing apps onto your phones to track 1.23 billion users simultaneously recording and listening to audio/video straight from each phone. lets just say that was the case, who the f*ck cares? I have nothing to hide, if they wanna see that I’m at home in my underwear right now typing a post on androidauthority and slurping on my soup by all means have at it. I have more important things to worry about

  • igy

    Two apps for one service. I don’t think so… Imagine that someone divide apps. That’s crazy.

  • Christos Vorkas

    I don’t see why this is any different to other apps, say Facebook app itself, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype etc… even Camera apps :) They all have “Take Photo” permission for obvious reasons, but who knows if they dont take photos on their own without us knowing about it…. Why people only have suspicions about the messenger app in particular ?

  • MasterMuffin

    But who really trusts what FB says?

  • Luka Mlinar

    Wanna bet everything gets backed up in the NSA data center :D

    • Paulo Fidalgo

      At least if you could retrieve that backup in case you needed it :P

      • Luka Mlinar

        haha true that!

  • xtriker360

    I had to reset my phone last week since them I haven’t install Facebook, I realized that I don’t need it. If I most check it, I do it on the browser or when I get home on the computer. Pretty happy like that.

  • Gon

    Good thing there’s root and can block permissions.
    On iOS it seems there’s no way of controlling what the app can do and won’t even get notice what permissions they got..

    • JayMars84

      I think the majority of iOS users choose it specifically for the lack of reading required. There are a lot of pretty colors though. ;-)

  • Tomato88

    I use Facebook on web browser only. Simple as that.

    • swtrainer

      When you sign in and use Facebook, it’s still under their terms of service agreement. Whether it’s through a browser or otherwise.

  • antonio

    Of course I would like and love to see companies be more transparent, to much risj with so many apss in our phones today and few of those apps draining our batteries and collecting personal info all the time, I wanna have the choice to allow it or not. OF COURSE