If you use Facebook, you started getting messages telling you that a new app, Messenger, was about to be launched. For weeks these messages would appear and for weeks I would ignore them. Why would I need another app? I get my private messages from Facebook, so what’s the big deal? Well, the “big deal” came when Messenger was the only way I could access my private messages on my phone. I clicked on the “download app” box and saw all the information it wanted and I decided that there was no way I would be downloading this. That lasted about three weeks. It turned out that it wasn’t as easy to just get to a computer every time I needed to read a message, so, I put on my big girl panties and hit “download”.
When I really gave it some thought, I realized that the only reason I didn’t want the Messenger app was because I felt it was asking for too much information. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Seeing that Messenger wants to access your phone, your phone’s camera and see your geo-location, it all seemed a bit much….at first. But, I had to face facts: Messenger wasn’t asking for any more information than other apps that I have. And, giving it even more thought, I understand why it needs the information it’s asking for. Of course it wants to access your phone because that is how you are going to be getting your message. It needs access to your camera because that is how you will be sending pictures through the app. Geo-location? Of course! Without it, how will it know which of your friends is near you and available for messaging?
I then realized that I was just making excuses not to download Messenger and it was becoming an inconvenience to me. Besides, I have quite a few apps already that need the same information that Messenger needs. GasBuddy uses geo-location to tell me which gas stations are close to where I am and needs access to the phone’s camera so that users can post pictures of the gas stations and the price boards. The Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks apps use my geo-location so that I can get a current list of nearby stores where I could get my caffeine fix. They also need access to my phone to keep track of my purchases and send me coupons whenever I reach my “bonus point” goal. Then, there’s Swarm (which used to be FourSquare). I can check in anywhere I visit and with geo-location, it will tell me if any of my friends are at the same mall I’m at. It will also give me a list of my “favorite” spots so check-ins are a breeze. Candy Crush, Words with Friends, Scramble with Friends, and any other games you have on your phone all need access to your phone and geo-location. So, if I don’t mind giving these apps access, why do I mind giving access to Messenger when this would actually be the app I would use the most?
Facebook already knows all about me, and since Messenger is a Facebook app, what would be the difference if I allowed this to have my information? After all, it’s not asking for my Social Security number or banking information. It started to make less sense to NOT download Messenger, so, I caved.