If you have recently signed up for the popular push-to-talk service called “Voxer” you may have noticed a few things about the contacts after opening the app for the first time. Your co-workers, direct reports and otherwise undesired people may already have you in their contacts!
I just had a conversation with a co-worker that heard about the app and downloaded it to his iPhone to check it out. Upon creating his account and opening the application, he noticed that “Peter McDermott” was already listed as one of his contacts.
How did that happen?
My colleague does not have any of my contact information on his personal phone. I do not have any of my colleague’s personal information on my phone. None of our accounts, Google or not, are associated with each other. We have no online connection other than that within our exchange server at work using our work contact information.
How did I appear on his phone as a contact if we don’t maintain any of each other’s information?
By default, when you use the Voxer app it enables “Share Location” anddisables “Privacy Mode” in which “you can only be found by searching for your exact email address, otherwise people can find you by searching for your name or email address.”
Currently on Voxer I have my cell phone number, full name and e-mail address included in my profile. I do not have a picture and I do not have my location selected. I did, however, have location sharing enabled (as it was selected by default).
It Gets Worse
After telling his wife about the app, she downloaded it to her phone and created a profile. The next day at work several of her subbordanates came to her excited that they could now communicate with each other using the push-to-talk app outside of the workplace.
If you work in an environment where you have direct reports, your communication with them inside and outside of the office should always be courteous and professional. You probably take steps to ensure that they are not “friending” you on social networks like Facebook and that you are not sharing inappropriate information with them online. You are doing everything you can to keep a professional presence online and limiting your communication to the appropriate channels in the workplace.
Having your information appear automatically on others’ contact lists can create another channel (usually unwanted) for them to get in touch with you. Remember, you did not request them to be your “friend” and they did not request you to be their “friend” on this service, it all happened automatically.
How Does it Work?
I am working on getting in touch with the Voxer staff to see what is causing this behavior in their app. I imagine that it is a combination of the automatic privacy settings and allowing people to add contacts based on their physical proximity (location sharing). Once I get more information, I will update the post to share with you what I find out.
What To Do
If you have the Voxer app on your Android or iOS device, I would highlyrecommend turning the Share Location feature OFF and turning the Privacy Mode setting ON. If you are worried about other people finding you, they will need the e-mail address you used in your profile to add you. These quick steps should help ensure that your use of Voxer is a pleasant one.
Have you had an issue using Voxer? Have you had a similar situation? If so, leave your feedback below.