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People Fear Their New Facebook App Is Spying on Them

facebook_messenger_sf

The millions upon millions of Facebook users are voicing their dislike of its messenger app, which is now getting only a one star rating on Apple’s app store, due to privacy concerns and general paranoia.

Facebook’s Messenger texting app has been around since 2011, but the company only recently required smart phone users to use it for texting, rather than being able to send messages directly through the website. Messages, however, can still be sent through Facebook.com when using a computer. Users were at first only bothered by the need to download and use two separate Facebook apps on their mobile devices.

Part of the reason for the backlash, though, is the concern of users that they are being forced to use a separate messenger app on smart phones so that Facebook can take advantage of their personal information to sell more advertising.

Others think that the company has become a private version of America’s NSA in that it can now somehow use the app to spy on them and see what they are doing at all times through their phones’ cameras.

In response, Facebook posted the following message to its users:

“You might have heard the rumors going around about the Messenger app. Some have claimed that the app is always using your phone’s camera and microphone to see and hear what you’re doing. These reports aren’t true, and many have been corrected. Still, we want to address some concerns you might have.”

“If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone’s camera and capture that photo. We don’t turn on your camera or microphone when you aren’t using the app.”

This may seem paranoid, but people posted criticisms on Google Play that accused Facebook of using the messenger app to somehow hijack people’s phones. Some even stated that Facebook could send texts and make calls without a person’s permission.

To these allegations Facebook said, “If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone’s camera and capture that photo. We don’t turn on your camera or microphone when you aren’t using the app.”

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