It would seem that we have once again found ourselves in a position of being mad at Facebook. I’m not surprised at the issue seems to come up every other year or so. The popular social networking site will make a change, we’ll all get super mad and hate it, there will be threats of shutting down our accounts in protest, and then we get over it, carrying on as normal.
I’d like to take the time to welcome Facebook Messenger to the madness.
This first thing that I’d like to point out is that Messenger is not something new the Facebook just threw us out of left field, in face it has existed since 2011. In its infancy, it was up to users whether or not they’d like to use the app for messaging or stick to the mail Facebook interface. Personally, I jumped on the messenger bandwagon sooner rather than later because it allowed me to check messages without getting distracted by other’s updates or anything from Buzzfeed.
The only big change that has come up in the past few weeks is that the use of messenger is no longer optional. In order to create a faster and more streamlined experience for users, Facebook has separated the messaging interface entirely for mobile users.
So why the move? In reaction to the backlash, Facebook responded with:
We’re committed to providing a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use to reach the people who matter to them. That’s why we’re focusing just on Messenger and moving messages out of the Facebook app. People usually respond about 20% faster when they have Messenger, and we think they’ll find both apps useful in different ways.
The two apps work flawlessly with one another. If you are using regular Facebook and click on a message, you’ll quickly be bounced over to the chat window for that message. Essentially- it’s along the lines of a Kik Messenger with the difference being you can use it to make phone calls over a data connection.
But Josh, Big Brother Is Watching!
If the rumors are to be believed- Facebook has teamed up with the NSA and is working to spy on our every move. They would argue that I’m being so positive about the App because I’m afraid they’ll come for me in the night.
Not the case at all- besides I have an army of attack cats that will protect me from NSA ninjas.
For some reason, when looking at the permissions required of the app, people flipped out. In the last week, I received a large number of e-mails from both friends and the general public, flipping out over the app permissions.
My reaction- they’re no different from any other app you are installing on your phone. Kik, Snapchat, Tumblr- they all ask for access to your camera, photos, contacts, location, etc. What Facebook Messenger is asking for is nothing new.
To quickly break it down for you:
Camera Access: Many people really enjoy sharing moments from their lives with others. Be it a group photo with Mickey Mouse at Disney World or a quick selfie in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Facebook messenger recognizes that and wants to help. In order to send those photos to your friends, the app needs permission to access your camera to take that photo. They are not going to remotely turn on your camera to watch you dancing around your living room whilst lip-syncing into a water bottle to the latest One Direction song. (Note: these are all things I have personally done in the last 24 hours)
Microphone Access: another feature of the app is the ability to call your fellow users. If you’d like the person you’re calling to hear you, the app needs permission to access the microphone.
Like many other apps you are using, they are not turning on your camera or microphone when the app isn’t in use. It won’t message your friends unless you want it to and the same for phone calls.
While many of the initial reports on the messenger have been corrected to give readers the appropriate information about the app, it’s important to remember that when it comes to news on the internet, you should try to go to the source to get the full story rather than falling into the conspiracy theorists’ traps.
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.