Solution to Facebook Messenger Privacy Issues
There are frequent complaints about Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS) or Privacy Statement. Both seem to always stretch the legal & moral limits. The constant strain on the limits have led to the point that many users just hit the “Agree” button without even reading the long legalese document.
But the big issue for Facebook fans right now is the FORCED use of the Facebook Messenger app. Starting today (at least for me), if you receive a private message via the Facebook (FB) mobile app, when you attempt to retrieve it, you will be taken to a page where you can install the Messenger app. If you fail to do that, you will not be able to use the FB app to read it.
There are many people (such as myself) who are concerned about the privacy issues that Facebook presents – especially since they are “forcing” users to install a SECOND application just for the messaging function. (Read the Snopes article here for a pretty well-balanced view of this.) Some people have become alarmed when they read about some of the “permissions” that the new app requires (use of the phone, SMS, camera, mic, etc). But I have a graphic that may surprise you:
Yep, every one of the permissions requested by the Messenger app, you already granted to the Facebook app! Plus, the FB app requires you to allow it access to the “Device and App History!” Notice that by presenting this image, I am NOT condoning the Messenger app!
But there are other issues with the Messenger app:
1. Messenger is not needed:
Most of us already have Texting, Twitter, Email, G+, and Hangout accounts that all do the same thing that FB Messenger does (and in some cases MUCH more and better.) Why do I need another?
If someone is a good friend, they probably already have your contact information. If anyone really wants to contact you, more than likely, your home phone number has been published world-wide on the Internet with your name attached.
2.Messenger is a memory hog:
A short primer on memory is in order: “I check the storage and I have 1GB free but I still go an ‘Out of Memory’ error!” There are two types of memory (storage). The long term memory on some devices may only be 2 GigaBytes (2GB). This is where applications (apps) are stored until they are used. Apps typically are from 2-10 MB. That may not seem like much when talking about GigaBytes (1GB = 1000MB) but after all the preinstalled apps, there may only less than 1GB free. This memory area is also shared with all of your music, photos, videos, and the data stored on your device by all the other applications. Facebook is one of the largest apps available. Facebook reports that it uses 73.86MB of memory and the Messenger app uses 34.51MB.
But the short-term (often called RAM) memory is much smaller than the long-term area. Older devices might have 512MB while newer top of the line devices might have as much as 2 GB. This short term memory holds the apps and data for whatever you are doing RIGHT NOW. After you close an app, it is supposed to release its access to memory and allow other apps to use it. Some apps fail to properly quit and you may run out of memory. (If you get the out of memory error, it is usually best to just turn off the power and restart the device in order to clear the memory error.) To reduce the problem, you have to clean out unused apps. I start with the apps that require the largest amount of storage/memory (such as FB).
3.Messenger is another battery drain:
All apps that run in the background cause an extra drain on the battery. Apps that “check in” on a schedule cause even more of a drain (and they are downloading DATA from you monthly carrier’s allowance). You can recognize such apps if they present notifications of new updates (usually in the notifications area). All social media apps, email, weather, etc applications do these check ins. But FB and Messenger make frequent checks and therefore are among the worst to drain your battery.
Solution to Facebook Messenger Privacy
Although Facebook routinely changes their policies, at the present, the Facebook website allows you to send/receive messages and complete all other functions. Actually, there are things that you can only do on the website (for instance, set the sort of your timeline). So, the simple solution is to dump BOTH the FB app and the Messenger app and use your phone’s browser to visit the Facebook site.
Most social media applications (for iOS or Android) begin as little more than a simple shortcut to their associated webpage. They may add additional functions – but generally, the need to support users without mobile devices assures that all functions must also work via a standard web browser visiting the website.
The solution (instructions for Android, iOS should be similar):
- In the search bar of your browser, enter “facebook.com/login” (or, click here.) When the page loads, just sign in with your normal credentials.
- Click on the settings button and select “Save Shortcut” or “Save Bookmark to Desktop” or what ever option is available on your device. Generally, the shortcut will be placed on the main page. If that page is filled, it may be on a different page. Just slide across the pages to find it.
- Click on the shortcut anytime you want to visit Facebook.
- If the shortcut fails to include the proper icon, hold the shortcut and when the menu appears, select “edit” then click on the image and select an appropriate icon. (You can download one of the above images if you wish.)
- If the shortcut is on the wrong page, just hold it down and then drag it across pages to the page you desire.
If the website does not appear approriate or some function is missing, click on the browser settings and select “Request desktop site.”
Pros and Cons
PROS: Using your browser rather than the two Facebook apps will save over 110MB of your very limited memory – and likely extend the time that your battery will last between charges! You can accomplish MORE than by using the app(s) alone or together (including messaging).
CONS: SHARING on Facebook is difficult using the browser on a mobile device. (Video sharing is not allowed at all.) Facebook scrolling appears to be choppy. It may also require slightly longer for your browser to display the site than the FB app would require. There will be no notifications from FB in the notifications bar using the browser only.
You may be aware of other things that are different (pro or con). Please report them in the comments below.