You've probably read the rumors by now: Facebook's Messenger app records your movements! Spies on your conversations! Kills baby unicorns! Facebook wants you to know that it's doing nothing of the sort.
In a statement from Peter Martinazzi, a member of the Facebook Messenger development team, the social media company explains that Messenger doesn't actively listen in or watch you through your phone's on-board camera and microphone. Instead, it asks to use your camera and microphone so you can make audio chats, or send photos and videos to your friends.
From the statement:
"Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages. If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone's camera and capture that photo. We don't turn on your camera or microphone when you aren't using the app."
Martinazzi goes on to explain that the company created the standalone Messenger app to "[provide] a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use and that "People usually respond about 20% faster when they have Messenger" compared to messages received through the standard Facebook mobile app.
Although the specific concerns surrounding Facebook Messenger may have been a little misguided, the fear is completely understandable. After all, Facebook doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to respecting users' privacy, and early last year it secretly tinkered with its newsfeed algorithm in the name of science. With that in mind, it probably isn't a bad idea to look upon the company's offerings with a skeptical eye.
You can, of course, disable or delete your account, and be done with Facebook entirely.
As for the part about the unicorns, well, I made that up. Just kidding.
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