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Facebook demystifies Messenger app permissions

Following some hysteria surrounding the new Facebook Messenger app's permissions, the company has explained what it needs some of the permissions for.
August 12, 2014

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?