Social Media and Facebook Messenger

Understanding Social Media and Facebook Messenger

If you have a Facebook profile, you will have noticed that Facebook now requires you to download Facebook Messenger to be able to send messages, pictured, videos and other files and content to Facebook friends via the social network.  And chances are that your child or teen with a Facebook account is using Facebook messenger too.

Here are the Facebook Messenger facts:

  • There are currently 1.2 billion users of Facebook Messenger
  • 17 billion photos are sent using Facebook Messenger every month
  • 64% of Facebook users use messenger
  • 50% of teens in the USA use Facebook Messenger daily

These stats show that vast amount personal information is being shared using Facebook Messenger, a concept that may seem harmless… especially if you haven’t read the app’s terms and conditions.

What you and your teen may not know is that the terms and conditions of Facebook Messenger (that you must agree to in order to use the app) allow the Facebook company to access your device microphone and record any audio exchange on the app without your knowledge or confirmation.

Other terms that you’ve agreed to if you’ve installed Messenger allow Facebook to:

  • Read your phone’s call log
  • Access data about contacts stored on your phone
  • Monitor communication you have with friends and companies on the app
  • Approximate your location

So what can you do?

The obvious answer is to uninstall Facebook Messenger, but this isn’t always desirable or convenient. The truth is that most messaging apps work with similar terms and conditions, so other than going offline, there’s not much that you can do.

Most of the terms and conditions are there to give permission for the app’s functionality, and, yes, Facebook will get your data as a result.

As a general rule, don’t ever type passwords, pin codes or any financial information into any messaging apps to avoid this information being exposed if your account is hacked. And although Facebook and other online companies may use your data for marketing and informational purposes, it’s unlikely that this information will be used in ways that can harm you.