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Facebook Messenger introduces ‘App Lock’ for improved privacy, other upcoming features revealed

Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger (Facebook)

This is an optional feature that aims to protect you chats even while the handset is unlocked and is being used by someone.

Tightening the grip on user privacy, Facebook today introduced ‘App lock’ and some other settings in its standalone app – Messenger. The App Lock feature lets you add another layer of security to your private messages, preventing others from accessing them. This is an optional feature that aims to protect you chats even while the handset is unlocked and is being used by someone. And how does it work, the feature uses fingerprint or face authentication to unlock the Messenger app.

Jay Sullivan, Director of Product Management, Messenger Privacy and Safety says that during this process, Facebook won’t transmit or store the data. 

Also confirmed is that App Lock is currently limited to Messenger for iPhones and iPads, and will reach Android by next month.

Also read: How to share your smartphone screen via Facebook Messenger app on Android, iOS

Apple iOS and iPadOS users can find this feature in the new Privacy settings section. “The Privacy section makes it easy to access settings and features like the audience for your stories, muted stories and blocked people. App Lock and the Privacy section let you tailor your experience and choose settings that work best for you. We’re always working to give you more control over your privacy, so as we introduce more privacy features, you’ll have this centralized place to find them,” said Sullivan.

Talking about features that are yet to arrive, Sullivan adds that the team is working on new controls so users can decide who can message or call you directly, who goes to your requests folder, and who can’t message or call you at all. This is said to work in a similar way as message controls on Instagram.

In addition to this, the firm is ‘exploring’ ways to protect user privacy and safety when an unknown user sends a message. “We’ll be testing a feature similar to what exists on Instagram and WhatsApp that blurs images in your message requests folder,” says Sullivan. However, it is not for sure when this feature will roll out.

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