Facebook is invading my privacy!


Recently the media has been overrun with stories about the many ways in which Facebook is apparently assaulting our privacy. From anonymous logins to experiments which manipulate our newsfeeds, the media has come down hard on the social media site.

Personally, this didn’t bother me until I read an article in The Metro about some of the more controversial T&Cs for the new Facebook Messenger app, which the social media giant is forcing users to download in order to access its instant messenger tool.

When Facebook first outlined its plans to prevent users from viewing their messages purely through the Facebook app, I wasn’t too fussed – the new Messenger app was free so I downloaded it without a second thought and was able to access my messages without any problems. I certainly didn’t spend the time reading the T&Cs in any detail.

However, after reading the Metro’s article, “Facebook Messenger could be recording you with your own camera, taking photos and sending texts without your permission” – which ironically, I read on my Facebook newsfeed – I am attempting to take a much more confidentiality-savvy approach to my Facebook antics, starting with deleting the Messenger app.

Some of the more controversial T&Cs include:

Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity
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 send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges.
Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation
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
Allows the app to read your 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 read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals

I don’t know about you, but on the face of it, this makes pretty grim reading! Consumer technology is reaching new levels, what with our smartphones controlling everything from our home’’ heating spend, to monitoring if we’re sleeping correctly, and at first glance, we now appear to be losing control of our phones.

Receiving targeted adverts is another example. For me, interacting with a brand that is driven by a consumer’s likes is a positive experience. In fact, in recent research conducted by one of our clients, Intent HQ, it’s clear the majority of web users agree. The poll looked into changes in consumer attitudes to brand allegiance and some 79{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of those 2,000 consumers polled said they are more likely to respect an honest brand that gathers data in a more straightforward and transparent way.

What no doubt makes people uncomfortable is the loss of control, or when personal data is utilised without permission, and as the leader of the social, data-driven world, Facebook seems to be one of the major offenders. A seemingly intentional lack of clarity around how Facebook collects and utilises data is a growing cause for concern and while in reality, the T&Cs of the Messenger App are probably covering for unlikely events, the fact that I might be charged for calls/texts that I didn’t actively send is switching me off, and no doubt many others too.