I’m not sure why there has been a sudden flurry of scepticism about the Facebook Messenger Android app while I’ve been away (only for a few days) as it isn’t exactly new, it originally launched in 2011!
At Dot-Social we’re all on iOS and want the latest version of most things to keep us all up-to-date. I personally believe Facebook make changes to enhance what we do, to keep us all on there! The difference is that the Android version of the app is having to play by Google’s rules and declare all it’s capabilities which, when spelt out, seem quite alarming and possibly intrusive, using all kinds of data from your mobile.
This article from Mashable helps with the detail of what people are concerned about and should help decide whether you should be worried. It’s aptly named, Don’t Freak Out About the Facebook Messenger App.
Facebook’s own blog on this, Why is the Messenger app requesting permission to access features on my Android phone or tablet? explains why they need the permissions stated. Even if you don’t really understand it all, you can get the gist.
You’ll see in the first blog post that they advise these permissions already applied to Facebook’s main app, and many of them are standard for social media apps like this anyway. It was in April this year when they split the app and started rolling it out. The app reduces the different ways in which Facebook has to handle messages in its standard app and, “It would be too cumbersome to add to the standard app.”
In very basic terms, within Facebook if you want to send someone a picture from your android mobile, you’ll need to have given the messenger app permission to access your photos. However, if you still don’t want to use the Messenger app, you can still access Facebook messages by accessing the site through a mobile browser. You can then access and respond to your messages without using the Messenger app.