Most of us would have been slightly irked by the fact that we had to download the Facebook Messenger app in the last day or two having used the regular Facebook app for the last while, but not many of us would have read the terms and conditions.
That's because they tend to be about 600 pages long, and if you did sit down to read them as they're written (in mind-bending legalese) you might have no clue what they're on about either. However, when it comes to Facebook, the company that recently used your data for a psychological experiment, maybe you should take that time to have a quick look.
Thankfully, a few folks out there have examined what permissions are granted to the app, which you might notice are given in a startlingly long list in the app store when you go to hit download, which should raise eyebrows immediately. Like a lot of people you were probably trying to respond to a message at the time, so you just hit accept and went on with your life, or maybe you were distracted by the pictures of cute little animals that they used to convince you that you should download it. As Sam Fiorella of The Huffington Post points out, that was a bad idea, because here's what you agreed to:
Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity: Basically means that it can switch on your data without your consent.
Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation: The idea is that you will be using this messenger as your main messaging app, including for sending SMS to premium numbers that cost serious cash, and Facebook Messenger is, in the words of Celebrity Deathmatch referee Mills Lane, "going to allow this", even if you don't know about it. Particularly we like the branding of other apps as "malicious".
Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation: Zuckerberg/Big Brother is listening.
Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation: And watching.
Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others: Everything that your phone could possibly know about you is being sent to someone else for marketing purposes.
Pic via imagenes.es
And that's not all, because there are a whole host of other, seriously worrying permissions that can all be read on the HuffPost article; things which you would definitely never agree to in your right mind. So this begs the question, what are you willing to give up to chat to your mates? Facebook are guessing that you'll hand over more or less everything.
Worryingly, there have already been over 1,000,000,000 downloads, so that's plenty of data handed over to Zuckerberg and his pals even if you haven't yet. At least there's a free and independent messaging alternative in Whatsapp. Oh, wait. Well don't worry, we've still got Instagram...
Via Huffington Post