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Facebook Messenger is not going to find and kill you

Well, they may find you…but hang on a second.

I remember when Facebook Messenger came out for the first time. Would you believe it was three years ago!? Almost to the day. August 9, 2011. Then it was much like it is today, a secondary app that you download to your device. Then you had the option to use it to communicate with your friends. Today, it’s mandatory if you want to chat with those same friends. No one likes mandatory. By default, most people don’t like to conform to anything, especially when it comes to their personal lives.

After asking a friend yesterday to download the app and check an audio message I just sent him, his response was, well, straight to the point:

“No way. I don’t want them spying on me.”

Valid point. Could they spy on you? Sure. Will they spy on you? Perhaps. Do you have something to hide? That’s for you to decide.

But remember a few things:

  1. Facebook is free to use. It’s hard to complain about something you get for free.
  2. If you’re worried about privacy, you should be concerned of EVERY aspect of what you do online. Everything is hackable, everything is open with the right knowledge. Someone is smart enough to gain access to ALL of your information. But will they ever look for it? Again, not unless they have a strong reason to take it that far.

I’m not a glowing Facebook advocate. I get annoyed with it and go on sabbaticals like the rest of us. They don’t pay me. But I like when things work – and in the short time of using Messenger, I must say Facebook is really stepping up the game. I appreciate apps that are almost ‘over-programmed’, they have so many features that it may take the general population time to even know they’re there. Robust. That’s what’s great. So before saying NO WAY to Messenger, give it a test drive and see what you think. Then if you want to disconnect yourself from the world and protest Facebook…fair.

Understanding Facebook Messenger Permissions

Facebook Messenger asks for a lot of permissions before you can use it. This is going to happen regardless if you use iPhone (and haven’t already granted Facebook these options) or on Android (iPad, etc.). So be prepared when you set it up the first time, but understand what they’re asking for:

Access to Microphone

What it allows: It allows you to send voice messages, make free phone calls and send videos with Messenger. They’re not going to listen to your voice on phone calls. They need access to the microphone because Messenger has the ability to let you send little voice memos back and forth. It’s actually pretty handy. There are days I don’t want to type at all. Click and hold the audio record button, let out your drivel and you’ll be notified with a checkmark that the

Take Pictures and Videos

What it allows:  It allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts. This is a key feature of Facebook Messenger. Sure you can send text and videos with your text message app within your iPhone or Android, but this is faster, sleeker and a heck of a lot more fun.

Directly Call Phone Numbers

What it allows:  It 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. It’s convenience. Most of us love convenience. You’re allowing Facebook to make it more convenient for you to call contacts.

Receive Text Messages (SMS)

What it allows:  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. This is for security purposes. Worry warts should be thrilled with this option.

Read Your Contacts

What it allows:  It 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.

Facebook Messenger Wrap-Up

If you’re truly scared for your life that downloading Facebook Messenger will compromise your privacy, you should already realize that if you’re a member of Facebook at all, it’s too late. They have information about you and you’ve been tracked around the web regardless. Isn’t it strange that when you browse the web and then click to go onto Facebook that ads are popping up showing you dresses or shoes you were just looking at (ahem, shoes for me.)? This all happens through little bugs called tracking bugs (or pixels). Here is more from Facebook themselves on that topic.

The bottom line: Facebook has never been private. It’s a free service you choose to use to bring entertainment, convenience and communication to your life. People are up in arms because, yet again, they are realizing how little privacy they have online and that freaks some of them out a bit. If you have something to hide, you should maybe put down the phone gently, turn around and find a safe house (like Brick Tamland…):

Let us know what you think about the new Facebook Messenger. I don’t discount that it does invade a certain level of privacy. So I’m interested to hear what you have to say – especially if you’re not going to use it. You can leave your comment below. Thanks!
Josh Benson

Josh Benson

Josh is the Editor of and supreme geek to boot. He spends much of his time learning new software, coding languages, gadgets and more. He loves helping people figure out tech problems - big or small. Josh is a former television news anchor and tech reporter. He spends his days developing websites and producing videos.

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