Facebook Messenger App Has Creepy and Invasive Terms of Service

messenger_icon_2By this point, we’re used to Facebook’s fine print containing alarming information about how the site is handling our data. The Terms of Service for Facebook’s new mandatory standalone Messenger app are no different, as highlighted by the Huffington Post this week.

Facebook announced this week that all mobile users who want to use its messenger feature will have to download the site’s new standalone Messenger app, and will no longer be able to send messages within Facebook’s main app. However, to download the new app, users will have to agree to some rather troubling terms. Here are just a few of the more invasive permissions in the Terms of Service agreement for the new app, as quoted word for word in HuffPo:

  • Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to read you phone’s call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
  • Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.

Most free apps require users to agree to permissions that can seem pretty drastic, but they do so in order to gather data for advertising. However, some of the permissions for Facebook’s new app have taken that concept to a creepy (and privacy-violating) new level.