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There’s good reason to be skeptical of Facebook when it comes to privacy, but the Facebook Messenger app isn’t the privacy nightmare that some people think it is.
Facebook is gradually forcing users of its mobile app to download the Facebook Messenger app to their smartphones and tablets in order to continue using the chat feature.
The warning came in a recent security bulletin from the Ministry of Justice, which revealed that police had made a recent seizure of the stun guns disguised as mobile phones, ‘confirming the presence and likely circulation of the weapon in criminal circles’.
In a help article on Facebook.com, the company explains why some of these permissions are needed, noting for example that accessing the device’s microphone and camera is necessary for sending video messages.
Those permissions are similar to those required by other messenger apps, such as Snapchat or Viber.
For an added level of security for your online accounts, the Authenticator makes it easy to manage multi-factor authentication passwords for a multitude of sites like Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
The Secure QR Code Scanner will check target URLs for online threats and malicious content, letting you scan QR codes without risk.
In this case at least, the Zuckerbergers don’t deserve the Big Brother accusations being lobbed their way – but they might have avoided a lot of pain if they had spelled things out for users better.
With that said, here are a few tips for Facebook Messenger users to help you better preserve your privacy: If you’re an Android user, you can download Sophos Mobile Security for Android to protect your device.
Specifically designed for Android, Sophos Mobile Security identifies malicious or potentially unwanted applications that could result in for example data theft, data loss, and excessive network usage costs.
If your device is lost or stolen, a remote lock or wipe will shield your personal information from prying eyes.
The negative reaction seems to have been spurred in part by a December 2013 Huffington Post blog article titled The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger’s Mobile App Terms of Service.
The article, by Sam Fiorella, which has been “Liked” on Facebook more than 785,000 times, has helped to fuel the fire of public outrage with statements like: Yesterday, the post was updated to correct the author’s errors around the conflation of Android-specific permissions and Facebook’s terms of service, (which Facebook says are the same for the Messenger app as the Facebook website), and the outdated descriptions of its permissions.
This move has led to a backlash against the social media giant, and it’s not just because Messenger is a separate app that takes up a lot of extra device memory.