Facebook Messenger App May Not be so Private

Emily Chudzik, News Editor

The point of sending a private message to someone on Facebook is for just that: privacy. Seems obvious enough. Maybe you had to get ahold of a classmate whose phone number you didn’t have, or you wanted to send a funny video to your friend. Seems harmless enough, right? It certainly used to be. However, that may not be the case anymore.

Facebook app users used to be able to send private messages from their smartphones to their friends, just as they would on the computer. It was a convenient way to keep in touch. Recently, Facebook practically forced smartphone owners to download the messenger app, even though it was optional in the past. There is virtually no difference between the messenger app and the way smartphone users previously sent messages. It seemed a bit unnecessary, but it became the only way to send a private message, and it was free. So Facebook app users downloaded it anyway, continuing to message others through the new app.

As it turns out, there were some major differences. When downloading the messenger app and agreeing to the terms and conditions, people were allowing Facebook to access their phone contact list, text messages, and even their photos. Unfortunately, many people weren’t reading the details of the app because they simply wanted to continue to message their friends, unknowingly giving Facebook legal permission to access such private things. People also became worried that Facebook could have access to your camera and recording device without telling them, enabling Facebook to spy on unsuspecting app users. It was seen as a total invasion of privacy.

I will admit that I had downloaded the messenger app without completely reading the terms and conditions. I know, it’s one of the most basic things to do. I only found out about the controversy surrounding the app from a video that my mom had, ironically, posted on my Facebook wall. I immediately uninstalled the app, not wanting to take any chances.

That being said, I find it highly unlikely for someone for Facebook to access my private camera and recording device to spy on me. I’m really not that special or exciting, nor am I on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. I just didn’t like the idea of someone having the ability to invade my privacy, especially the ability to see what I was sending in a private message! I mean, the whole idea of a private message is that it’s private, and only the person you sent it to will see the content of it. What’s the point if other people can see it? While I don’t believe that it’s one hundred percent necessary to uninstall the app if you have it, I highly advise you to consider all angles. After all, anything is possible.