We’ve all had it happen before. One minute you’re talking to your friend through Facebook Messenger about this new couch you really want, and the next you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and whaddya know, there’s an ad for couches delivered straight from Amazon.
Creepy coincidence, or highly specialized algorithmic advertising scanning your messages for anything that might revolve around shopping for or buying new products? Read on in our guide to deleting Facebook Messenger to find out why the answer may (or may not, if you’re familiar with the company’s privacy history), surprise you.
What Data Does Facebook Messenger Collect?
Here is a terrifying list of all the different aspects of your mobile device that Facebook Messenger digs its tendrils into:
A log of the device’s system is made
A list of all accounts registered on the device
Every bookmark in your mobile browser, as well as the entire web history of that browser
Device-locked accounts can be added or removed at will
Facebook Messenger records your identity
A list of all in-app purchases
Facebook has access to your contacts and calendars
Messenger can see a list of all the apps currently running on your device
Your contact card can be read and modified
Facebook Messenger can collect calendar events, modify contacts, and see other confidential information
Facebook Messenger is even allowed to send emails to people in your contact list without your knowledge
As you can see, the depth and breadth of the information that Facebook Messenger collects off your device is as impressive as it is horrifying, which is why we suggest that you delete this app off your phone immediately if you care at all about your personal privacy.
What About Facebook Messenger for Kids?
If you thought the standard Facebook Messenger was already scary enough on its own with the immense amount of data it collects from your phone, the fact that it’s just as bad on Facebook Messenger for Kids should be enough to make your skin crawl.
Here’s the full list of what data is collected and sold to advertisers via the Facebook Messenger for Kids app:
Information and content parents and children provide.
"We collect the content and information children and their parents or guardians provide and generate when registering for and using Messenger Kids.
Registration Information: This includes information parents or guardians provide when they create a Messenger Kids account for a child, such as the child’s full name and any account login details (such as a username or password), and additional information their parent or guardian provides about them, such as their gender or birthday. We also collect information about your child’s connection to you and the consents and information you provide to approve your child’s Messenger Kids account and activity.
Content and Communications Shared on Messenger Kids: We collect the content and information your child sends and receives on Messenger Kids, such as the content of messages (including text, audio and video), stickers, gifs, photos or videos they send, camera effects they use, and their score in a game they play with a friend.
Activity on Messenger Kids: We also collect information about how your child uses Messenger Kids, such as who they engage with, what features they use, and how long and in what ways they engage with different features on the app.
- Contacts on Messenger Kids: We collect information about the people your child connects with on Messenger Kids and how they interact with them, such as the people they communicate with the most.
- Device information: We collect information from or about the phone or other device where the Messenger Kids App is installed. This includes, for example, information about the operating system, hardware version, device settings, device identifiers, and connection information such as the name of the mobile operator or ISP, language and time zone, and IP address."
If you want to keep your kids out of this loop of data collecting, we’ve got some tips at the bottom of the article that will help them steer clear of Facebook’s never ending hunger for all the data they can get.
How to Delete Facebook Messenger on Android
To delete Facebook Messenger from Android, start by opening up the Google Play store by tapping on the icon from your home screen:
Next, type “Facebook Messenger” into the search bar, and tap the first result that comes up:
After this, simply tap the Uninstall button, and confirm with OK that you want to uninstall the app.
How to Delete Facebook Messenger on iOS
To uninstall Facebook Messenger on iOS, it’s a simple one-step process. Simply find the app on your home screen, and tap/hold it until a small gray X appears in the top-left corner:
Tap this and you should receive a confirmation dialog asking that you want it uninstalled. Tap Delete and you’re done!
How Do I Chat Without Facebook Messenger?
Now that you’ve left the app behind you’ve probably found yourself in the sticky circumstance of not being able to read or respond to any messages on your Facebook account through your mobile phone. Facebook has intentionally removed messaging capabilities from the main Facebook app, as well as making it impossible to view or respond through the standard mobile Facebook website, so what’s the workaround?
There’s still one bastion of mobile Facebook messaging left, and that’s Facebook Basic. This is the extra-lite version of Facebook that you can load through the mobile browser, and while generally intended for low-powered phones and people running on bad cell connections, it’s also the one place left that you won’t be forced into downloading Facebook Messenger in order to view your inbox or respond to any messages.
To get into Facebook Basic, simply follow this link in your mobile browser, or type in “https://mbasic.facebook.com”. From here you'll be able to tap into your inbox and message anyone the same way you would in Facebook Messenger, minus the ability to natively add stickers or GIFs to the conversation.