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Are Social Media Apps Spying on Me?

Discussions are once again over the surface after Facebook Messenger’s latest privacy statement – which is not much different from any other popular app you use – regarding personal privacy access level.


First of all I think we all need is to stay calm and think twice. Scary as it sounds, social media apps need specific access to our mobile devices in order to increase user experience. I mean come on. Can you imagine Whatsapp without functions like: Send voice message, send images from your image gallery, take a photo and send it from the app itself, send location, send contact, recognize new contacts on your phone and show them in Whatsapp list etc. Users are already using these practical functions “happily” but they are freaking out when they see a privacy statement. Trust me, no app is trying to collect data like a photo when you take a shower and blackmail you someday.

Hereby some simple translations:

ScaryApp will have access to your camera, take photos, view your gallery: Means that you can take a photo directly from the app by clicking to camera icon (like in Instagram), or you can directly connect to your gallery to send an image to a friend (like in Whatsapp).

ScaryApp will have access to your phonebook, all contacts: No, ScaryApp won’t hit on your ex, it just needs this access so that you can share contact information with another contact, or to show you which of your friends are using the app so you can find them easier. This has been the same since MSN Messenger!

ScaryApp will have access to your microphone: No, ScaryApp will not record your naughty nights and share it with best buddy apps. That is required because you “love” to send voice messages.

Lots of other examples can be given. But not needed. The point is, seeing a formally written “PRIVACY STATEMENT” and “being forced” to agree to use most of the apps are naturally will worry most people. If this is being spyed on, then guys I’m sorry to say but you are being spyed since 1994 with the invention of browser cookies. Of course social media apps gathering lots of personal information to segment users, target different advertising/content strategies etc. If this is in scope of “spying” then you need to take extreme actions to prevent these. Perhaps the same people worrying about privacy are actually downloading unknown content everyday, which can easily include a keylogger virus (a trojan that hides in a deep level in your device, and sends each “keyboard hit data” to an unknown someone) which easily results in hacking like no other.

Long story short, users should not worry “this much” about their privacy regarding the apps they use, it’s not “that bad” as it seems. I mean…Probably 🙂


Image source: Flickr

Emre Gökalp

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