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Why You Should Think Twice Before Using Facebook’s Messenger App

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Michael Krieger
Liberty Blitzkrieg
September 16, 2014

“Messenger appears to have more spyware type code in it than I’ve seen in products intended specifically for enterprise surveillance.”

– Jonathan Zdziarski, expert in iOS related digital forensics and security

Anyone who reads Liberty Blitzkrieg consistently will be aware of my disdain for the company Facebook. There are many reasons for my negative sentiments, but at its core is the company’s complete disrespect toward its own users.

Facebook made major headlines earlier this summer when it was caught in a massive controversy over its decision to intentionally manipulate its users’ feeds in order to affect their emotional state, something I covered in the article: Was the Department of Defense Behind Facebook’s Controversial Manipulation Study? 

Well the company has found itself at the center of controversy once again. This time related to its Messenger app. CBC News reports that:

In August, Facebook announced that it would no longer be allowing its users to communicate via private message on mobile phones without first downloading its proprietary “Messenger” app.

Many of the social network’s users were annoyed — if not outraged — to learn that the free app was “mandatory” if they wanted to continue using Facebook on the go.

Some refused to download the app, claiming that the situation had prompted them to quit Facebook altogether.

Some of those who downloaded the app may be thinking twice this week about keeping the app around, however, in light of one iOS forensics and security researcher’s recent assertions that Messenger is tracking more data than most people realize.

“Messenger appears to have more spyware type code in it than I’ve seen in products intended specifically for enterprise surveillance,” tweeted Jonathan Zdziarski, a noted author and expert in iOS related digital forensics and security on Tuesday.

In an email to VICE’s Motherboard, Zdziarksi told reporter Matthew Bragathat Facebook logs “practically everything a user might do within the app.” 

“[Facebook is] using some private APIs I didn’t even know were available inside the sandbox to be able to pull out your WiFi SSID (which could be used to snoop on which WiFi networks you’re connected to) and are even tapping the process list for various information on the device,” he wrote.


This article was posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:32 am

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