Once again there is news about Facebook that has users upset. The social media giant is no stranger to criticism, from concerns about invasion of privacy to changes in the user interface.
But the latest Facebook controversy revolves around an app scam—the color change app—and changes to Facebook Messenger.
The impact of Facebook
Sure Facebook is a fun social media site that lets you interact with your friends (and, unfortunately, your parents) online. But it seems like every time there is news about Facebook it is in regards to another Facebook controversy. Why? A big part of the reason may be because of the extraordinary sway the site has on so many aspects of our lives and business. For instance, in “Boom or Bust with Facebook: Why the Social Giant’s Recent Algorithm Changes Mean Everything (and Nothing) to Enthusiast Publishers,” in the March 2014 issue of Folio, by Michael Rondon explained why the site’s News Feed algorithm is such a hot topic.
In December 2013, Facebook decided to tweak the formula it uses to promote articles in user’s News Feed to focus on what it called “high quality articles.” The change was anticipated to be a boom to publishers such as those of Discover, according to Rondon, while limiting content from viral meme sites. But as Rondon wrote, “quality, clicky-ness and sheer luck are still part of the equation. There’s no one formula for virality on Facebook.”
News about Facebook Messenger
The latest news about Facebook perfectly dovetails with the most recent Facebook controversy—the decision by the social media site to split Facebook Messenger off as a separate app from the rest of the Facebook site. Users are unhappy about the decision, which has left many wondering about the site’s motivation for the change. Josh Robert Nay attempted to uncover the answer in his August 11, 2014, post, “Facebook Messenger Division From Main App Causes Backlash From Consumers. Could It Be For More User Data?” for TruTower.
Nay wrote that Facebook’s official statement claimed the split was to “avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences,” a reason he didn’t buy. What’s more, Nay believed that the true reason is to give Facebook the ability to do more with user data (and possibly invasion of privacy). He offered a sample list of 10 permissions that Facebook Messenger now asks for, including:
- “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 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.”
Color change app scam
But Facebook controversy isn’t always a result of changes the social media behemoth makes itself. Sometimes the conflict stems from outsiders looking to scam unsuspecting users. Think your user interface could use some cosmetic changes? Beware of the color change app scam! On August 8, 2014, in “Facebook Alert: There Is No Such Thing As ‘Color Change’ App; Scammy App Affects Thousands” for HNGN, Sam Lehman shared that the app scam was revealed August 7, 2014, and “According to the report, the link that offers color changing themes for Facebook profile appears to take users to apps.facebook.com/themesandcolors but actually redirects to a malicious phishing website.”
More than 10,000 Facebook users have fallen for the scam, which steals their login details and can help the hackers gain unauthorized access to the individual’s data. Those affected are advised to delete the color change app, remove it from their Facebook profile and change their Facebook password.
How do you feel about Facebook’s Messenger changes? Will they improve the social media site or make no difference? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.