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Facebook Messenger: Cause for paranoia?

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the lynx
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Facebook Messenger: Cause for paranoia?

Postby the lynx » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 5:01 pm

Those who uses Facebook in Android knows that for the last few weeks, Facebook makes it mandatory for users to download a separate app to view messages. In-app messages do not work any more.

http://thedroidguy.com/2014/01/app-permissions-android-apps-might-spying-81983#qe3L7wUde1rtA1f2.97

[quote]“Record audio with the microphone … at any time without your confirmation”

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 5:26 pm

Probably it is but not any bigger than any other application developed by a corporation with questionable approach to privacy. Google, pretty infamous in that respect, itself developed the Android OS and no doubts it has (potentially) access to everything mentioned.

Facebook from my perspective is not any different. So is Microsoft. Any corporation with a monopoly in a specific area and limited transparency is a threat but bigger the company more attention it gets so I really doubt anything gross is going to happen with the permissions given. There are ways to monitor such activities and I have no doubts people will do it. If found truly abusing, this would be the end of Facebook.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 5:42 pm


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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 5:59 pm

I tried using the Facebook messenger to make VOIP calls to other people on facebook messenger. Its pretty good and I actually prefer it compared to skype, since I dont care about video calls.

However the facebook app and the messenger app are extremely resource heavy and my poor phone has only 500MB RAM. So finally uninstalled facebook, as well as the messenger. I have created a bookmark on safari, to the facebook page, on my homescreen and its as good as the facebook app itself.

The other crazy and resource heavy app is linked in. Its insane. The worst part is both LI app as well as its mobile site dont have an option to see the news feeds ordered by recent instead of Top. So I always need to go to their full site.

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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 6:35 pm

It's a natural evolution of whatsapp being bought by FB, or so my 13YO son says.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:16 am

No additional cause for concern. Anything you'd be concerned about Facebook doing could do with one app or two. I'm pretty sure the main Facebook for Android app has had such abilities since they released that silly Facebook Home crap. Their intentions are just to deliver better optimized and less bloated apps which is a fair thing.

Btw, the ghost of Steve Jobs protects you from this. The iOS versions (of any apps really) do not have nearly such access to your device.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:21 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/messenger.asp


I'd say this is mostly pretty accurate.

The cause for concern is likely not Facebook, but a malicious third party who can find a security hole in the Facebook app and then use those permissions the Facebook app.

What does this mean for an everyday user who doesn't understand my previous paragraph?

This would be a potential scenario:

You click a wall-post for some random website or article a friend shared. It loads from a different site, but you view it inside of the Facebook application (Say, Buzzfeed, TMZ, stomped, etc). A security hole in the Facebook app could let that 'different site' execute whatever commands it wanted on your phone as the 'Facebook app'. Facebook only needed access to your Camera to send photos via Facebook, or access to the Phone to pause when you have an incoming call, but it still had full access to those features. So that malicious third party site could use Facebook's access to steal your photos, make random high-fee phone calls to numbers it controls, read/send SMS, etc.

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Postby aster » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:30 am

I for one am not downloading that separate messenger app just cause someone at FB is having a power trip.

Messaging worked perfectly fine beforehand so forcing users to get some other app is going a step too far...

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:55 am

I don't use fb messenger but I use whatsapp and if thats going to go the same way as fb messenger I think its a real cause for concern.

A few years ago, everyone was convinced that Instant messaging networks could be monitored and peoples conversations, pictures and video cams could be subject to surveillance. I suppose that concern still holds good.
However people didn't worry about it that much or stop using them.

With the advent of mobile apps on smart phones, if the app can be hacked, the intruder can accurately pinpoint the location of the smart phone user if the app has access to the GPS features on the smartphone, thereby singling out the end user. That part terrifies many people and hence the paranoia.
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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 1:32 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:I don't use fb messenger but I use whatsapp and if thats going to go the same way as fb messenger I think its a real cause for concern.

A few years ago, everyone was convinced that Instant messaging networks could be monitored and peoples conversations, pictures and video cams could be subject to surveillance. I suppose that concern still holds good.
However people didn't worry about it that much or stop using them.

With the advent of mobile apps on smart phones, if the app can be hacked, the intruder can accurately pinpoint the location of the smart phone user if the app has access to the GPS features on the smartphone, thereby singling out the end user. That part terrifies many people and hence the paranoia.


Every single thing you said is possible and true, but it was also possible and true before Facebook split it out to a separate application.

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Postby Brah » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 11:04 am

I never updated the FB app on my phone, and those few times I run it request to sync or whatever with the o/s, then, sync all my phone contacts. Then I log off and shutdown the app, and I keep getting the o/s sync reminder until I restart the phone.

Despite the extra steps to start FB without these 'features' it keeps trying to load them, so basically I don't run FB on my phone. Who really needs FB that much anyway. No one.

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 1:07 pm

Brah wrote:Who really needs FB that much anyway. No one.


Young Asian women, Filipinos, everybody else's pesky Aunts and that creepy kid from high school who never seemed to have any friends.

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Postby aster » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 3:36 pm

http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/ ... enger-app/

Seems like the new app is really messing with our privacy...

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Postby PNGMK » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 4:26 pm

I deleted the FB app on my S5 when they finally made the messenger compulsory - I figured it was a message from the gods.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 09 Aug 2014 4:56 pm

aster wrote:http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/facebook-crosses-the-line-with-new-facebook-messenger-app/

Seems like the new app is really messing with our privacy...

I was never a big fan of FB. I use it on a PC only with very limited inputs from my side, but for me they crossed the line already 2-3y ago when I saw an advertisement as it was coming from me. I don't remember the details but it was sort of like me recommending something to someone and of course I had never done it. A plain lie.


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