Facebook explains why Messenger needs permission for your whole phone

Facebook explains why Messenger needs permission for your whole phone
Mobile app permissions can be a difficult thing to navigate. Platform makers have to walk a fine line between giving users too much information (and causing confusion or forcing users to ignore it all) and giving too little info (which means users don't know what an app is doing). Android has been getting better about it, but users still wonder why apps need certain permissions. Now, Facebook is explaining why Messenger has so many permissions on Android.

Most of the permissions that Facebook Messenger asks for make sense, because Messenger does quite a lot of things. It needs camera access for taking photos and sending them to friends; mic access for recording audio messages; phone access to directly call phone numbers in the app; GPS access for checking and sharing your location in a chat; and contacts access so you can add contacts from your phone's contacts into Messenger or have Messenger contacts synced to your phone's contacts (those location and contacts syncing can be turned off in settings). But, some were concerned that Facebook Messenger also asked for permission to send/receive/read your SMS messages, which seems unnecessary given that Messenger does not act as an SMS app. 

Facebook's official explanation for that is that the permission is only used when you add a phone number to your account. When you do so, Facebook sends an SMS with a confirmation code to that number, and the permission allows the app to catch the message, read it, and get the code automatically, in order to make the process easier. 

That sounds reasonable enough, but it's up to you to decide if you trust that Facebook will only be reading your SMS in that specific scenario. 

source: Facebook

FEATURED VIDEO

27 Comments

1. sriuslywtf

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Nahh.. BS. To All.. Un install this ASAP. If you want a secure messaging app, use BBM.

14. Blaze.Infernus

Posts: 16; Member since: May 01, 2014

BBM hasn't been secure since in years. Not since they had to make it server based in order to launch it on Android. Sorry.

2. jphillips63

Posts: 253; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

F u FB

3. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Go away Facebook, just go away.

4. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

I disabled or deleted messenger from every smartphone I've owned. When I want to get on fb I use my browser

15. saiki4116

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 31, 2011

Even though Messenger is there it is useless, never reliably sends/receives messages

5. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2264; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

Fb want it get it.

6. Max_Boost

Posts: 101; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

LOL @ permissions. Too bad, I use AppOps through Xposed. Gotta fight fire with fire, u know. You can know suck it, FB, as you're getting fed with fake data and not my real data on my phone. Hahaha

7. naittosan

Posts: 240; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I already know a dozen people that won't download it, in fact it deleted my account.

25. SamDroid unregistered

It deleted your account? Right... :/

26. JEverettnow

Posts: 228; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

in fact this isn't a fact

8. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

lol as if your phones arent already being spied on. at least FB is asking for permission upfront

9. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Nope... Deleted it this weekend when I saw everything that it was asking for. I think that this is FB trying to see what it can get away with in the permissions department. Most people don't even look at what permissions the app is asking for.

10. AlikMalix unregistered

Cant you guys just choose which permissions to allow and disallow one by one like on iOS?

11. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Only if rooted

17. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm gonna sound like a troll now, but Android being the super customizable platform and you cannot even manage permissions for a typical app such as FaceBook? What's good about customizing if you cant do something as important as this? First it's inability to manage notifications, now permissions? What's next, you guys cannot delete bloatware unless you root? ...Or buy a car today that will change it's infotainment screen to specific OS, like with iOS? Or choose between Siri or Google Now, or ability to switch from regular call to a video call during a conversation?.... Sorry, I'll stop.... it's just that Apple gets pounded for lack of customization and features - I had to go there...

21. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Actually, no you can't do most of those things without root. However, it's not a big deal with root.

12. Zeeya

Posts: 331; Member since: Mar 17, 2013

BBM... just sayin'

13. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Facebook on browser is still the fastest version of Facebook.

16. iMemo

Posts: 113; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

I call that BS!

18. TechDork

Posts: 402; Member since: May 10, 2010

Never mentioned FB Messenger for iPhone. Interesting.

19. Landmarkcm

Posts: 507; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

One of my whole main problems with it & I haven't seen to many others complaining about it. There is no option to log out of it within the app. So that you are not showing avail if you don't want to be. Yes you can turn off chat. But there should be a built in function within the app to sign out of it! If you don't want to be avail on it. The only way on Android at least is to go into your settings and clear it.

20. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I haven't installed because I refuse to install a second app just to do what I used to be able to do within *ONE FREAKING APP*. Idiot Lamebook. Already pretty much hate the stupid site, but this is just one more step towards pushing me to cancel my account. I don't understand why people use it to begin with. I have hated it from the start, but everyone(mostly) I know uses it. So I can't really get away from it.

22. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

FU FB. Y U SEPARATE PRIVATE/GROUP CHATTING ON UR FB APP????????? is a simple private chat THAT difficult to implement on the official fb app?

23. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

#paranoia. I trust FB more than I trust the US government.

27. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

FB gives all the data they collect to the US government. #reality

24. KingOfAndroid

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

Been using FB Messenger for a while and i have nothing against it, i find it better than viber and whatsapp for making calls.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.