Admittedly, at first glance, it looks pretty ominous. In a new update to the Facebook app that runs on Android phones, Facebook asks users’ permission to read their text messages.
The permissions request, which asks whether Facebook may “Read your text messages (SMS or MMS),” was discovered by a Reddit user who did not like it one bit.
But it turns out that the request is likely just some clumsy wording and not a literal demand that CEO Mark Zuckerberg get to see your sexts and emojis.
It’s actually to increase security on your Facebook account by offering two-step authorization, in which not only do you need your regular password but you may have to receive and send a text to Facebook as well just to check that you are you and not some Russian hacker.
Facebook has a page explaining this. It begins:
We realise that some of these permissions sound scary, so we’d like to provide more info about how we use them. …
… If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.
Nonetheless, it’s the Daily Mail’s world — we just live in it — and that’s why you’re going to see headlines like “Is Facebook reading your TEXTS? Android update lets app access your written and picture messages.”