Now that Facebook will no longer let you send messages through its main mobile app, users are being forced to download and install Facebook Messenger — and they’re not happy about it.
In just a few days since the big split, Facebook Messenger has soared to the No. 1 spot in the iOS App Store — but it also has an overwhelming number of one-star ratings. Nearly 94% of those who rated the app gave it just one star. The Google Play store works a bit differently, as Mashable’s Karissa Bell points out, but even recent reviews of the Messenger app are mostly negative.
Here are a few choice samples from some iOS reviewers:
There is nothing that I could add to my messages that would make it so special that it deserves its own app. Even if I were perfectly articulate, completely deep and thought and could muster words that your strongest vocabulary couldn’t even fathom. I could be messaging someone on Facebook with the secrets to ColdFusion, extraterrestrial life, the origin of God, and who killed JFK, and it still wouldn’t deserve its own app.
Thanks for making billions of Facebook users have to go out of their way to download this stupid app just to send messages. I’m sure most of us are quite informed on how many privacy risks are associated with this “mandatory download.” I have to let Facebook have access to my microphone and camera just to send messages like I was already doing without risking my privacy?
They have hit a new low with this app. It’s a pointless waste of space. I was perfectly happy with the Facebook mobile app, as it satisfied my needs perfectly .What I did not need was a whole other app that literally does nothing the previous app couldn’t do, nags me to allow push notifications (not happening) every time I try to use it, and ultimately just takes up more space on my phone. It’s as though every facet of the app was designed to be as obnoxious as possible.
Mobile analytics firm App Annie says this negativity towards Facebook Messenger is not exclusive to the US; almost every other country’s App Store has a 1-2 star average.
So why are users so unhappy? Well, besides being forced to download and use another app on their phone, there seem to be some major privacy concerns among users. This Huffington Post article by Sam Fiorella outlined all of the permissions Facebook Messenger asks its users before they can use the service:
- 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 you 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.
- Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
- Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
- Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.
As one commenter on that Huffington Post story points out, Facebook needs many of these permissions to send audio and video messages, and it can make calls because Facebook is trying to connect its massive network to your local contacts lists to make communication easier.
The problem is, the Messenger app doesn’t actually improve the messaging experience. Sure, there are extra sound effects for your actions now, and it’s easier to find your phone’s contacts that use the Messenger app, but the chat feature felt simpler and more responsive when there was still an option to use it directly within the main Facebook app.
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