Facebook Permissions

Fear over the app's features was unfounded in the first place

Now that folks have freaked the eff out over the permissions declared in the Facebook Messenger app, Facebook finally has added a page to its help section explaining what's going on, and why the app uses the permissions that it does. And — surprise, surprise — Facebook's explanation is exactly what we told you last week, when we broke things down, feature for feature.

So, again. Nothing really to be alarmed over, so far as the app permissions are concerned.

And for what it's worth, the December 2013 Huffington Post story that was the genesis for much of the FUD today added a correction/update. Better late than never, we suppose.

 

Reader comments

Facebook finally puts up a page explaining Messenger permissions

27 Comments

I spent an hour explaining to friends that every app on their phones use permissions to some varying degree. These are people who use FB, Twitter, Foursquare/Swarm, Snapchat, etc...they were appalled that Messenger wanted access to the things it did. People that have used smartphones for years. I was a little amazed at by how many had no idea that their phones used them.

Posted from Gamehendge.

Have to agree there is a girl at work that was bitching about the permissions .. I day her down and explained that 99% of the apps on her phone has permission to assess certain things on her phone. And showed her what snap chat swarm asked for in the end was understood what was going on and was ok with it

Posted via the Android Central App

better not to install or buy many apps, be very careful with Android (despite that Android is still the best for me)

Facebook is a huge privacy threat - better to use a special browser just for Facebook
Google is crippling Android so we cannot choose to decline some permissions

"People that have used smartphones for years." doesn't mean shit these days because anyone that uses their phone primarily for social media most likely doesn't give a shit about permissions to begin with. Rightfully so if they're coming from huge networks like Facebook or Twitter, because if they tried anything fishy with those permissions the damage they'd do to their savvy userbase would be irreparable.

Your comment has a surprised tone, as if you expected your friends to care about something so trivial these days. People don't care what private info they give up if it makes their lives easier in other ways, like making it easy to communicate with friends and family. The ones that actually do care about their privacy have the means to avoid these services, or even their own solutions or hacks to circumvent the data requested.

All in all, privacy really only seems to matter these days to geeks, nerds and [unfortunately] conspiracists, the general population most likely don't even read those requests on iOS apps that ask for your location and shit, they'll hit OK on just about any popup for an app they've already installed. If Android added permissions like that, we'd be the only ones using them. Not the people that use their phones to stay updated in their social circles.

There used to be a time when your personal information including name, address and phone number was published in a big book. Anybody could get access to this big book, look up your name, give you a call, send you mail or even show up at your house. The phone company published this book, so for sake of brevity we'll call it a "phone book". In order to not have your information published in the "phone book" you'd actually have to pay the phone company to keep the information private. Nobody complained about this system.

People need to get some perspective. The idea of absolute privacy has never existed.

Although I get your your point your list of concerned groups sounds a bit condescending. See! Only these losers are concerned about permissions. Allow me to add a few more morons to the list so we can all see how idiotic it is to have these concerns.

Civil rights advocates
Lawyers
Political Activists
Politicians
Members of the media
Thoughtful phone owners
Criminals
Business owners
People in other countries

Many of these people see a relationship between this topic and other important issues.

It's funny that I can see the truth in much of what you say but by the end I was feeling a bit manipulated. Hey, just like when I read FB's explanation of their permissions.

Posted via the Android Central App

The problem is that the permissions are not as find grained as you think they are, and there is nothing preventing an app that you gave record-audio permissions to from doing so without your knowledge.

The proper way to send pictures is to take them, and then share them with the app. That way you know exactly what the app is getting.

No matter how much you guys like to MAKE EXCUSES for this grabbing excessive permissions while promising not to use them except in certain rare cases, it just doesn't work that way, and facebook doesn't work that way either.

Can you seriously believe the excuse for Receive text message? With a straight face?

Couldn't have said it any better myself. I'm on no way a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, but handing over this level of permission should start to raise flags for everyone. Sure it MAY have been way over hyped by the media, and FB MAY have valid reasons for using some of them. However, that doesn't mean that they are only going to use them for those purposes.

Putting lips to FB's behind just because they offer a very weak explanation of what the permissions do is IMO a joke. They need to be called out on this stuff and offer full explanations of what those permissions are there for and why. I'm pretty sure we all know, but still, it isn't wrong to call them out now!

Yes, Facebook has lied. But they don't blatantly break the law, because that would be incredibly stupid for a publicly owned company to do. Zuck isn't going to risk his company just to read people's text messages.

I'd rather have Facebook Messenger than have to install the whole app in case someone messages me on it because they lack more intelligent means of communication.

The question is, would you pay for this service. Lets say one company was capable of making sure that your stuff stayed your stuff. ANything you posted would not be used by anyone. I know this is impossible, but would you pay for it?

How much would it be worth? I would be willing to bet that maybe $200 a year people would find reasonable...

I learned long ago to not put anything that is important anywhere. Some stuff of course has gotten out (but it is not stuff I care about)

Microsoft are selling an instant messaging service, connected to Office. Look how popular that one is for private users. I bet not even one in ten thousand knows the name of it, because it's something noone would want to pay for.

Wow! After all these years, Phil still believes what Facebook tells him.

I have a 90% share in the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon Phill. Sell it to you cheap. You could put up toll booths and earn it back in one year flat.

so is texting someone from the phone extinct? why are people so obsessed with using facebook for everything?

Posted via the Android Central App

The above is REAL FUD...

Read call log : to "sync up with your phone contacts" ???

We need the following, to... : To USE a data connection ???
Change network connectivity
View network connections
View Wifi connections

FUD

You obviously don't know what FUD means..

Misinformation, maybe, but not FUD. FUD is what the people crying wolf spreading these stories are doing.

I just hate Huffington post. It's a bunch of bloggers trying to pretend what they write OS actually important in some way.

Posted via Android Central App

I am not sure why exactly but Permission Dog views FB as having 59 permissions. Repeats are shown and I'm sure it's for a very good reason.

Posted via the Android Central App

This is all well and good, but I absolutely do not trust Facebook to do exactly as they say.

In the main Facebook app, I had set everything to "Sync: Never", et al. Once, I accidentally opened Facebook when I was in a store with zero service.. and I already had new bubbles on my Messages and Notifications, and my News Feed was topped off with recent posts.

I have never updated the app even once since then - I just don't trust them to keep their word about any permissions being benign.

A huge part of the confusion/fear is in how the OS requests and presents these permissions: Rather than asking for each permission the first time it's required in the app (e.g., when you go record a video, you get asked permission to use the microphone) so you have some idea why the app wants permission, they're all dumped up front and there's no context whatsoever.