back to article Facebook Messenger: All your numbers are belong to us

Facebook started 2016 with the bold claim that it intends to eradicate phone numbers and replace web browsing, but the Social Network has a mountain to climb before Facebook Messenger becomes the centre of our online world. That’s the stated intention of the Zuckerberg empire – to replace all our myriad internet communication …

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  1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    Meh

    Errrrrrmmmmmm...

    ...no.

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Pint

      Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

      Indeed, anyone with half a brain will take one look at the requirements of that nasty little app ( both on Android and iOS) and realise their life will no longer be their own after installing it! I use FB to keep in contact with family and fellow photographers but I'm damned if I'll ever install any of FB's nasty pieces of malware masquerading as mobile apps.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

        Likewise, I use FB in a limited way.

        I decided some time back to not use the apps, asking for far too many permissions, and a resource hog.

        My mobile access to FB now consists of a URL shortcut on one of the home screens.

        1. Tim 11

          Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

          Surely if there's any reluctance in user takeup, all they have to do is integrate messenger into the normal FB application (which in my experience can't be uninstalled on android), then users will have the simple option of either having messenger or not having a smartphone.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

            all they have to do is integrate messenger into the normal FB application (which in my experience can't be uninstalled on android

            I managed to uninstall it on mine.

            Let's face it, what good is the app without the account to go with it?

          2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

            RE : (which in my experience can't be uninstalled on android)

            I disappeared it from my Z1 , there's no root access or anything like that involved, I used the cunningly named "Advanced Permission Manager" freely available from the App Store.

      2. John 62

        Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

        With Android 6 you can chop and change permissions granted, so the permissions issue is moot on that platform. The thing is, any messaging app needs most of the permissions: use the microphone, use the camera, access device storage, access the internet, etc.

      3. Daniel Voyce

        Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

        Just because an app requires a heap of permissions doesn't mean it is always using them, various ROMs have had privacy guard and the like installed as default for now and I have always had messenger locked down to "request" access to these things - it has never once asked for "microphone access" (or any other access) without me explicitly selecting that function (e.g. to send a voice message).

        1. Delbert

          Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

          If an App "requires" a heap of permissions then you can be assured that the developers road map includes using them sooner rather than later.

      4. Bob 18

        Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

        > anyone with half a brain will take one look at the requirements of that nasty

        > little app ( both on Android and iOS) and realise their life will no longer be

        > their own after installing it!

        I think you man to say that almost everyone will install it.

  2. fuzzie
    Holmes

    Whatsapp?

    How does that fit into Zuckerworld? I bet it's much more pervasive than facebook messenger.

    They've been very quiet about it, but I've noticed things like "You probably know X" stuff popping up in facebook that's unconnect to the facebook acquaintances. It appears they're definitely mining my whatsapp contact list (or more likely my phone's contact list since it grabs access to that).

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Whatsapp?

      I did wonder about that, as (so far) WhatsApp is advert-free and offered with a small fee. Last night it told me I would not have to pay this ever, so I did ponder on how the system will be paid for.

      WhatsApp seems a great system, but not in Facebook's hands I fear.

      1. g e

        Re: Whatsapp?

        Although it's already grabbed your contacts and silo'd them, presumably Marshmallow lets you bar it from your contacts in the future? Though given how whatsapp works that's likely less than useful :o/

        Will be good to bar FB app from contacts and location, though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whatsapp?

          "Although it's already grabbed your contacts and silo'd them, presumably Marshmallow lets you bar it from your contacts in the future?"

          Only if you allow it to do so. Go into messenger, then options, then people and uncheck Sync Contacts. Job done.

          Also, I recommend the use of an app called "Dcentral1" which analyses the privacy risk of every app you have installed and rates them in a simple scale. FB messenger weighs in at a rating of 18; which is a low to moderate risk (depending on the weighting you give it). It is beaten squarely by Outlook, Snapchat, Lync and even Touchdown, all of which leak far more data than Messenger. The worst app for leaking data I have on my phone is Lync 2013, which scores 47.

          Feel free to downvote me for doing some research of my own, rather than relying on the received wisdom of crowds.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Whatsapp? ref. Dcentral1

            how did you verify the integrity of Dcentral1?

      2. e^iπ+1=0

        Re: Whatsapp?

        "Last night it told me I would not have to pay this ever, so I did ponder on how the system will be paid for."

        Yeah, whatsapp no longer incurs a fee. Maybe Facebook can monetise it in some other way. Or maybe they're just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatsapp?

      How does that fit into Zuckerworld? I bet it's much more pervasive than facebook messenger.

      That's why they own it too.

      What you're looking at is meta data gathering: who do you know. Under privacy laws, companies have to tell YOU when they grab YOUR data, but there is no requirement for them telling that they are grabbing your friend's data, or that they have stolen your data via someone else.

      The BBC had a really good program about Gorden Welchman, the "rather dashing looking" (sic) Alan Turing contemporary who came up with the idea to use the to/from meta data of Enigma messages to discern German organisational structures. What you're looking at is simply a further evolved version of it. This is also why Facebook, LinkedIn and practically any other data collector are so hot on getting your mobile number for your "security" - that's not quite what they want it for. It's about roping you into network analysis (the human kind).

      It's getting all rather sneaky, murky and dirty, and the most depressing thing is that 99% of people don't have a clue what is happening (nor are they interested until such data gets into the wrong hands).

  3. Nigel Brown

    Not me Zuck.

    Don't have and wont have the mobile app - I use the mobile browser.

    Don't have, don't want, don't need and wont have the messenger app. Why do I need that when I have WhatsApp and old fashioned text messaging available? The world doesn't start and stop with Facebook.

    1. src

      Re: Not me Zuck.

      I am also one of the 800 million who downloaded Facebook Messenger. Since deleted it. And the Facebook and Twitter apps. They are simply not necessary. I can use the mobile websites using Firefox+Adblock.

    2. Packet

      Re: Not me Zuck.

      if you're using a mobile browser for facebook and ostensibly other things, i take it you are aware of the facebook cookies that will follow you all over the web as part of your regular browsing (unless you're only browsing anonymously / privately) and even then, there are session cookies to contend with....

  4. Fraggle850

    Oh, that's all good then

    When Go Zuck Yerself sucks the most popular bits of the interwebs into FB Messenger we'll all be on Free Basics and the Indian arguments will become null as the bits of Web that lie outside the walls of the garden slowly wither and die due to lack of visits.

    Yay! More proprietary control of the interwebs!

    And if it's not him then it will be someone else. If that someone is Microsoft expect:

    'The Web page you requested is not compatible with your version of Windows. Click here to install Windows 10'

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck No

    I will never ever sign up to Facebook.

    Take that Zuck.

  6. GregC

    Farcebook can Zuck off.

    Don't have an account any more, and never will again. Their constant attempts to become the de facto internet platform are extremely tiresome.

  7. Detective Emil
    Alert

    Facebook: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with

    The Fishbowl has already said it, so I don't have to.

  8. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Skype??

    Is Skype really the top messaging app? I would have thought that WhatsApp was way in front…

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Skype??

      Skype does more than messaging - calling to/from abroad is usually cehap enough to make it useful even when the other side hasn't Skype. Probably people with more money are also willingly to buy Skype credit for those needs.

      If ever Microsoft stops messing up with Skype, it can easily surpass FB Messenger - although maybe it's time for interoperable messaging clients, a single proprietary platform is too restrictive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype??

        I wouldn't use Skype messenger, it's intercepted and has been for years...

  9. Frank Bitterlich
    Big Brother

    "We can help you interact with businesses or services..."

    Thank you for that kind offer, Mr. Zuckerberg, but I'm all grown up now and have a fully functional web browser, so I don't need your "help" with that.

    But I suspect that the trend of companies and organizations thinking that having a Facebook page is more important than a real website will only get worse.

    When I repeatedly state that I do not and will not ever have a Facebook account, some people still look at me like some kind of idiot who lives in the past. Good luck, mankind, with that level of ignorance.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      But, but, but - how will you "reach out" for people?!?

      I will boycott them, just like I have been boycotting MySpace, and look at them now.

      Also, I think you are, ala, correct re organisations neglecting their homepages over ther pages on Le livre des visages. I am almost annoyed already.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >I will boycott them, just like I have been boycotting MySpace, and look at them now.

        @allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        So you're the person responsible for the collapse of Friends Reunited! :)

      3. Fred Dibnah

        Le livre des visages

        Une haut-vote pour vous!

        Have une bonne evening.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But, but, but - how will you "reach out" for people?!?

        The more I hear that awful phrase, the more I want to throttle those who use it.

        1. dewi

          But, but, but - how will you "reach out" for people?!?

          The more I hear that awful phrase, the more I want to throttle those who use it.

          But surely you'd have to "reach out" to do that?

          1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

            Reach around is worse.

            Yes I have heard someone say that.

  10. jzl

    Standards

    We need an interoperable instant messaging standard and we need it fast. Otherwise, this may come to pass and the world will rely on Facebook for communication.

    I'm not talking IRC. Something which can stand against Messenger or WhatsApp in functionality and ease of use. SMTP for messaging, if you like.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Standards

      So time to get behind extending XMPP?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Standards

      > Something which can stand against Messenger or WhatsApp in functionality and ease of use. SMTP for messaging, if you like.

      I don't know too much about it, but RCS - Rich Communication Services - might be a candidate. It's been in development for years by the GSMA, but nobody uses it. Google have recently bought into it, since they are competing with Facebook and Apple's iMessage.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Communication_Services

      http://9to5google.com/2015/09/30/google-commits-to-rcs-the-sms-successor-and-acquires-jibe-to-prove-it/

      https://bloggeek.me/android-rcs/

    3. MrTuK

      Re: Standards

      Not sure that would happen, unless they were forced to allow it.

      Also I don't like the idea, I prefer to separate my skype contacts from my email and my FB contacts.

      Also I wont install FB onto my Smartphone although its on my wifi tablet but no contacts are on that !

      I use Skype on my Laptop as well as FB, but only use webmail so they dont have access to my contacts.

      Also, personally don't like the way sites try to get you to log in via FB etc

  11. Novex

    No thanks. I don't like the idea of all my communications being spied on by anyone, least of all Facebook. By keeping things separated, no one entity has it all.

  12. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Boffin

    Never forget

    The insightful and accurate comments on the machinations of Facebook posted here are lost in the vast sea of ignorance in the wider world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never forget

      I'm a picky internet Whale, and the "..insightful and accurate comments on the machinations of Facebook (and other WannaBeEvilDoers posted here are like my crill in the vast sea of ignorance in the wider world.."

      FTFY :)

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Never forget

        krill

        FTFTFY

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Just say no ...

    I don't have a Facebook account, and there is nothing that Facebook do or say could ever persuade me to get an account.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Agreed

      Actually, every single thing The Zuck does or says is always one more good reason to stay the hell away from that thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just say no ...

      What's "Facebook"...?

  14. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    When is a phone not a phone...

    The infographic made me laugh - since when has a phone been more about productivity than communication? Surely the whole point of a phone - the reason the damn thing was invented - was to facilitate communication???

    /headdesk

    Oh, and Facebook can go shove it. No apps on my phones and FB Purity on the laptop.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: When is a phone not a phone...

      >- since when has a phone been more about productivity than communication?

      It's just by historical contingency that we now call our pocket computers 'phones'. In an slightly different alternate reality they might have been called 'connected PDAs' or somesuch. Even before smartphones and 'feature-phones', people would use commonly use their phone as alarm clocks, calculators and torches.

      You'll note also that we tend to drop the 'tele' from 'telephone' (dumb phone, smart phone, mobile phone, cell phone etc), so a mere MP3 player could correctly be called a 'phone', since there is no 'tele' (at a distance) involved. Heck, some people just call them 'mobiles'.

      If I browse TheRegister or retreive my email on my 'phone', then the 'tele' part is present, but not the 'phone' (sound or voice).

      (Icon: Not a grammer Nazi, but an armchair etymologist)

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: When is a phone not a phone...

        "armchair etymologist"

        so you like sticking pins in insects?

        1. User McUser
          Holmes

          Re: When is a phone not a phone...

          so you like sticking pins in insects?

          That's entomology, not etymology.

          If you had studied the history of how words change over time, you wouldn't have made that mistake.

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