Facebook Messenger may soon add end-to-end encryption

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Facebook messaging apps
Messenger is finally getting encryption.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook plans to tighten security on its popular Messenger platform this summer, but it won’t be turned on for all users by default.

Messenger will add a new end-to-end encryption feature that prevents hackers and the government from being able to read your text messages. Facebook won’t be able to read your messages either though, and that will seriously hurt its ability to make bots great if you decide to opt-in to better security.

The move mirrors Google’s recent unveiling of Allo which also comes with end-to-end encryption but only as an opt-in feature. Google received some heavy blow back from critics for not making encryption the default, and it appears that hasn’t deterred Facebook.

“Facebook plans to make the tougher encryption an opt-in, because turning
it on would get in the way of some new machine learning features it is building into Messenger,” reports The Guardian, claiming that the update will be available in the coming months.

Bots have become a bigger focus of Facebook’s strategy after the company unveiled its new AI tools at its developer conference last month. Edward Snowden’s revelations of goverment spying have pushed more users to demand better privacy protections. Its unclear if Facebook’s bots will be powerful enough for users to forgo privacy concerns.