Facebook Messenger & Messenger Kids
Facebook Messenger is a messaging platform that is included with Facebook and allows you to message and perform audio and video calls. The service can be accessed for free through a Facebook account, or by providing a phone number and email.
Has there ever been a breach or data leak?
Date of last breach
Over 267 million Facebook user phone numbers, names and user IDs were exposed in a database on the dark web. Facebook believes this breach occurred either through exploitation of Facebook's API, which has since been updated, or through automated technology used to scrape information from public user profiles.
Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?
Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?
Does it have parental controls?
Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?
Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?
Does it require you to create a strong password?
Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?
How Can It Snoop?
Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?
Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?
Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?
Does it require an email address to use?
Does it require a phone number to use?
Does it require an address (home or office) to use?
Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?
Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?
Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?
Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?
What Could Go Wrong?
Facebook has been known to use its users' personal data for advertising and often shares it with third parties. They also recently hired contractors to transcribe audio messages users sent through Messenger, and may have access to other metadata embedded in the app. This is especially concerning given children can use this app as well. Be warned about these risks before using the app.
How Does It Share Your Data?
- Can text as well as do audio and video calls.
- Encrypted messaging mode.
- Support for third-party apps.
- Serious privacy concerns.
- Limited file-type support.
Facebook is notoriously bad when it comes to protecting user privacy. They have been the target of several hacks, and have been known to sell user information to third parties, such as Cambridge Analytica. Even though messages in this app are supposedly encrypted, the fact that it is owned by Facebook means they most likely have a backdoor to access information from these messages. Use this app with extreme caution.