The Dangers In Using Facebook Messenger


Many issues had already been published about the mandatory installation of the new messaging system of Facebook (FB) on mobile gadgets of its members. Most of the complaints about the “Messenger” concern possible privacy intrusion which caused many FB members to decide not to download the application (app) even if the messaging function of the network was already deleted in the main mobile Facebook app. Of course, a leeway is to use a mobile browser in accessing the Facebook website which as of posting time still has the “Messages” pages.

What if FB finally decide to delete Messages in its website (both desktop and mobile versions)? You will then be obliged to install the Messenger app in your mobile device if you want to continue chatting with your online FB friends. Yes, there are many other messaging apps that you can use but can you convince your chatmates to shift to it? Are there real dangers in using the Messenger? These are the questions that I will try to answer based on the experience I had in using the app since it came out a few weeks ago.

In fairness, the FB Messenger as an instant messaging service is easy to use in providing free text and voice communications to its online members anywhere in the world. When installed in your smartphone, you can even see who among your friends are online and let you chat and call them if the app is also installed in their mobile gadgets. One danger is that the app sends your location by default which you may not want to happen. You need to click the location button every time you send a message if you do not want the receiver to know where you are.

The other danger that I wish to cite is not about the fear that asking permission to access the camera of your smartphone is tantamount to allowing the app to use it to take photos and videos in your location. It is also not about the app being able to read the messages in your SMS inbox although you also give this permission when you install FB Messenger. Rather, it is the permission to allow the messages from the app to get into your SMS inbox.

Why is it dangerous if the messages from FB Messenger get into your SMS inbox? When this happens and you instinctively reply using an offline cellphone to a message sent by someone from abroad, it will cost you Ph₱20.00 per text in accordance with International SMS Rate that Philippine telcos charge. Do you like this to happen when an IDD call to your friend can cost Ph₱2.50 per minute only?

Turning off notifications by SMS in your Facebook account settings may prevent this from happening. I am not sure of this because, who knows, FB may have the consent of the telcos to implement this feature of the Messenger. Who would not want extra incomes from unknowing subscribers?

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