When Facebook decided to remove messaging from its main iOS and Android apps, forcing users to download Messenger, it caused quite a stir. Not least because an article from a radio station, coupled with an older Huffington Post piece, flagged the app’s required permissions as a reason to reject the app entirely.
Today, I spotted an alert inside Facebook’s mobile apps with the headline “Messenger: Myths vs. Facts” and follow-up message “see how the app really works.” It was positioned at the top of my News Feed and the green button, coupled with a jovial Bigfoot character, meant I couldn’t miss it.
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The post is brief and reiterates Facebook’s position regarding its required app permissions. “Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages,” it reads. “If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone’s camera and capture that photo. We don’t turn on your camera or microphone when you aren’t using the app.”
The company then explains why it decided to focus on Messenger and pull the chat functionality from its main apps. “People usually respond about 20 percent faster when they have Messenger, and we think they’ll find both apps useful in different ways. We hope you’ll try out Messenger and enjoy everything else you can do with the app, like chatting with groups and sending stickers.”
Facebook’s comments themselves are hardly surprising, but it’s clear the backlash and negative coverage (the Huffington Post’s piece was updated on August 11) was strong enough to warrant a sizeable response.