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Smartphone users urged to delete Facebook Messenger

A delayed update has led to security concerns.
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Security experts have encouraged people on iPhone and Android smartphones to avoid using Facebook Messenger, due to the delay of an important security update.

Facebook Messenger has been criticised for not protecting its users with end-to-end encryption, leaving your personal messages and data at risk.

An update was set to be released that would provide encryption for people’s messages - a feature WhatsApp already offers. However, that’s now been delayed.

The reason for the concern is that encrypting Facebook Messenger would mean no one would be able to read messages apart from the recipient and sender. And while this is excellent for privacy it also throws up some concerns.

Currently, harmful messages and inappropriate content that may be sent to children can be flagged and reported to Facebook, helping to prevent the exploitation and abuse of children.

With end-to-end encryption in place, not even Facebook would be able to see any content in people’s chats on Messenger, which puts the social media giant in a tricky position.

Since people can send messages to other users who aren’t even on their friend list, un-encrypted chats are a vital way of flagging inappropriate, and even illegal, messages.

But while this is clearly an important factor, it does put people who want their messages encrypted, and rightly-so, in a tough spot. So should you leave Messenger and use another service?

Zak Doffman, cyber expert at Forbes, said: "Messenger users should switch their personal chats to WhatsApp (or Signal) and leave Messenger for trivial comms and kids.

"You should certainly not be using it as the default messaging platform if you’re on Android, where switching from the OS default is an option—unlike on iOS.”

In response, Facebook told Forbes that work to the update is ongoing: "We’re building strong safety measures that are designed to prevent harm from happening in the first place and give people controls to respond if it does.

"Working together also gives us more information to identify abusive accounts and allows us to introduce safety features behind the scenes like restricting interactions between adults and minors.”

If you’re worried about privacy and want your messages to be encrypted, there are plenty of other messaging options, such as WhatsApp.

Category: News
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