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Facebook Unveils New Privacy, Security Features for Messenger

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled new privacy and security features for its Messenger application.

One of the new privacy features is called App Lock and it allows users to protect their private chats when they borrow their phone to a friend or family member. App Lock prevents unauthorized users from accessing Messenger by requesting some form of authentication, such as fingerprint or face authentication, before giving access to messages.Facebook Messenger App Lock

App Lock is currently available for iPhones and iPads, but the social media giant is also working on adding it to the Android version of Messenger “in the next few months.”

This new feature can be found in the new Privacy settings section that Facebook has added to Messenger. All privacy-related features will be available in this location.

Facebook also announced that it’s working on new controls that will allow users to specify who can call or message them directly, whose requests will go to a “requests folder,” and who will be completely blocked.

“We’re also exploring more ways to protect your privacy and safety when someone you don’t know sends you a message,” explained Jay Sullivan, director of product management in Facebook’s Messenger Privacy and Safety department. “We’ll be testing a feature similar to what exists on Instagram and WhatsApp that blurs images in your message requests folder. This way, you have the choice to view an image from someone you may not know before replying to the message or blocking or reporting the account.”

Similar features are already available in Instagram and WhatsApp.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.