It’s okay to use Facebook Messenger

It’s not great, but it’s okay. The security and privacy and just plain tedious issues around it have been exaggerated. True, Facebook is to privacy what Microsoft is to taste and, true, Facebook only profits by what it can leverage out of us. It’s becoming a saying: if a product is free, then you are the one being sold.

However, the specific issues around Messenger aren’t what they seemed. The complaint that most spooked me was that the app uses your iPhone’s microphone. It does. If you agree to it. Don’t thank Facebook for that qualification, thank Apple: apps cannot access your microphone, your photos, your contacts or anything else without asking you first. Android isn’t so bothered.

Facebook does make it sound as if it wants your mic for nefarious purposes where really it’s to allow you to send audio messages. I didn’t know you could, but apparently it is or it is going to be like the voice-text kind of thing that is currently in WhatsApp and will shortly be in iOS 8.

It also says that it might make calls on your behalf. Hmm. But that’s muddy-speak for if you tap a contact’s number on your Messenger screen, Messenger will dial them for you.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, it’s still a pain to deal with Facebook’s constant pressing for more access. I find it extremely annoying that I’ll get a notification on my Facebook icon for a new message in Messenger. Open one, then have to open the other, tap to go back, tap to get out, it’s just ugly.

But it’s not as murderously objectionable as I thought. Read more about this and what’s really going on over in TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog).

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