A lot of people are worried about the new Facebook messenger app. They are wondering if they should bother with installing it or just ignoring it. Well, pretty soon you won’t have the option. They’re slowly rolling it out so that you have to use it. My version of the app has already switched. So, you either need to get used to using it or completely stop sending/receiving messages via Facebook.
As far as the hype goes, it seems like there is a lot of needless paranoia about it. For example, the suggestion that it can tap into your microphone and camera to record you without your permission. That’s pretty ridiculous. The reason the app asks for these permissions is just so the app can operate as it was intended. Having said that, Facebook is a private company (and not the government), which means that they aren’t restricted by the same laws about privacy. So, keep that in mind.
As far as the things it really can (and will) do, they are mostly things that just make the program integrate into your phone. It can send text messages and make calls on your behalf, but only if you actively decide to do it. Plus, it can access your contacts and recently called list to establish your relationships and other information about you. I realize the idea of that may bother people, but it’s really nothing new. Facebook (and many other apps/websites) have been cataloging this information for a long time.
Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what Facebook would be doing with this information. Are they Big Brother that wants to spy on everything you do or are they just another company who wants to make money? My guess is it’s the latter. They just want this information to help target ads better, which is the whole reason Facebook exists. Remember, Facebook is free to users because companies pay to advertise on it. You are not a customer, you are a commodity.