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Facebook Is Recording More About Even When You're Not Using Your Phone

Facebook Is Recording More About Even When You're Not Using Your Phone

For all people with a smartphone, Facebook Messenger is probably one of the first applications they have installed on their phones. Only concern, this instant messenger application can access the microphone of your phone, camera, and take direct control of your phone, so the possibility of spying on you, which worries many people.

Is it true that Facebook Messenger is spying on you?

The terms of use of Messenger require a lot of personal data and the freedom to take control of your mobile device. Here is a long list of permissions that this application requests, and that once accepted give Facebook full control of your smartphone:
  • Change the state of network connectivity.
  • Call the phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls.
  • Send SMS without your intervention, which can lead to unexpected costs.
  • Record audio using your microphone at any time without your confirmation.
  • Take pictures and videos with the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  • Read and save your phone's call history, including incoming and outgoing call data.
  • Read the data of the contacts you have saved on your phone, including the frequency of communication with certain people (eg, call, email, etc.).
  • Read personal profile information, that is, your name and contact information, stored on your device. This means that the app can identify you and potentially send this information to others.
  • Access the features of your mobile device. Accepting these terms gives Facebook Messenger permission to determine the phone number and device IDs, and whether a call is active or not.
  • Get a list of accounts known by the phone, which may include other accounts that are not specific to Facebook Messenger.

What does it mean to accept the terms of use of Facebook Messenger for you?
It's extremely easy to jump to the assumptions and be frustrated by the apparent breach of privacy, and that's legitimate. However, there are certain factors that anyone using these applications must consider first.

Many applications have terms similar to Facebook Messenger that millions of people blindly accept each day for the convenience of using an app. A question then arises: when did you ever read the terms of use of an application, not to mention the privacy policies and end-user agreements?

In the article "The cost of reading privacy policies" published in the Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, researchers Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor measured the length of privacy policies. Some privacy policies range from 144 words to 7669 words.

To put this in context, the average reading speed is 255 words per minute. McDonald and Cranor concluded that if you had to read each privacy policy, it would take about 244 hours, or 154 hours if you chose to just fly over them.

Many times, throughout the terms, there is reference to things like recording audio or using the camera at any time without your confirmation. This is disturbing, because Facebook Messenger can register randomly without you knowing it. But this is not necessarily the case.

Facebook Messenger really hurts your privacy?
In his defense, Facebook explains that if he asks you for permission to access your camera and your microphone, it is to be able to send audio or video messages. It asks you for permission to access your contact list so that you can more easily make calls within the application. However, if you do not agree to the terms of use, which are intended to make the application easier and more convenient to use, it can not automatically access the camera, microphone, or contact list.

Overall, it does not appear that the intent of Facebook Messenger is to violate your privacy. But it is understandable that many people are worried about such a possibility. There is a risk when a company has as much potential power and influence. In fact, people should always use these social media apps responsibly and carefully.

If you're worried about your privacy, you can disable Facebook Messenger access to your microphone:

For iPhone users: Go to Settings, then Privacy, choose Micro, then Facebook Messenger and turn off the mic for this app.

For Android users: go to Privacy and Security in Settings, find the Microphone section under the app's permissions, and disable access to Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger Saves You Even When You're Not Using Your Phone