Tag Archives: Messenger
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is planning to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of the WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services and incorporate end-to-end encryption into these apps, the New York Times reported on Friday.
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble
The three services will, however, continue as stand-alone apps, the report said, citing four people involved in the effort.
Facebook said it is working on adding end-to-end encryption, which protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in a conversation, to more of its messaging products, and considering ways to make it easier for users to connect across networks.
“There is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” a spokesperson said.
After the changes, a Facebook user, for instance, will be able send an encrypted message to someone who has only a WhatsApp account, according to the New York Times report.
Integrating the messaging services could make it harder for antitrust regulators to break up Facebook by undoing its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, said Sam Weinstein, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
“If Facebook is worried about that then one way it can defend itself is to integrate those services,” Weinstein said.
But Weinstein said breaking up Facebook is viewed as an “extreme remedy” by regulators, particularly in the United States, so concerns over antitrust scrutiny may not have been a factor behind the integration.
Some former Facebook security engineers and an outside encryption expert said the plan could be good news for user privacy, in particular by extending end-to-end encryption.
“I’m cautiously optimistic it’s a good thing,” said former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now teaches at Stanford University. “My fear was that they were going to drop end-to-end encryption.”
However, the technology does not always conceal metadata – information about who is talking to whom – sparking concern among some researchers that the data might be shared.
Any metadata integration likely will let Facebook learn more about users, linking identifiers such as phone numbers and email addresses for those using the services independently of each other.
Facebook could use that data to charge more for advertising and targeted services, although it also would have to forgo ads based on message content in Messenger and Instagram.
Other major tradeoffs will have to be made too, Stamos and others said.
Messenger allows strangers to contact people without knowing their phone numbers, for example, increasing the risk of stalking and approaches to children.
Systems based on phone numbers have additional privacy concerns, because governments and other entities can easily extract location information from them.
Stamos said he hoped Facebook would get public input from terrorism experts, child safety officers, privacy advocates and others and be transparent in its reasoning when it makes decisions on the details.
“It should be an open process, because you can’t have it all,” Stamos said.
Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru, Jan Wolfe in Washington and Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Writing by Katie Paul; Editing by Tom Brown
MENLO PARK, Calif. (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Messenger app launched an augmented reality feature on Tuesday to allow people to see products they are shopping for as if they already have them, such as a car parked in a driveway, in a move aimed at drawing in potential advertisers.
Although smartphone messaging apps are not known for displaying ads, Facebook has said that targeting the 1.3 billion people who use its Messenger service with ads will be an important part of the company’s long-term revenue growth.
Silicon Valley tech firms are pouring money into augmented reality, a mix of the real and digital worlds best known from the game Pokemon Go.
Facebook, at a tech conference that begins on Tuesday, is launching a new toolkit for software developers to make augmented reality features.
David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Messenger app, said in an interview that shoppers will be able to visualize and potentially test out products that advertisers have made available. Sephora, one of the first businesses that will use the feature, will let people virtually try on cosmetics.
Similar augmented-reality features have proliferated on the apps of retailers such Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Ikea, which allow people to see how a toaster or couch would look in a room.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, has been encouraging businesses to use Messenger to talk with consumers, sometimes for customer service.
Having businesses using Messenger helps Facebook’s advertising business, Marcus said. Marketers can place ads directly in the service, and Facebook sells ads in its News Feed that connect to Messenger conversations.
Messenger and the News Feed create a feedback loop like a “flywheel” for ad sales, Marcus said.
Four businesses are participating in the launch: electronics company Asustek Computer Inc (2357.TW), automaker Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS), clothing company Nike Inc (NKE.N) and Sephora, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH.PA).
WhatsApp, another Facebook-owned messaging service with more than 1 billion users, has sworn off advertising. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said on Monday he was leaving. The Washington Post reported he was doing so in part after conflicts about advertising, which he opposes.
Marcus said he was not worried about ads turning off Messenger users. People must opt in to talk with a business on the service. “People actually find it helpful,” he said.
Messenger is trying to attract businesses in other ways, such as automated chat “bots” that can reply to customer inquiries. There are 300,000 bots on Messenger, three times more than a year ago, Marcus said.
Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Frances Kerry
Facebook’s recently introduced Messenger Kids app is getting an upgrade that lets parents set “off times” that blocks their children from using the service.
The new Sleep Mode, which debuted on Friday, also lets parents set different times for the app to shut off depending on the day of the week. During “off times,” the app is inaccessible, meaning children will be unable to send or receive messages or video calls, use the creative camera to take or send photos or receive notifications.
All Sleep Mode settings are controlled from the parent’s Facebook account and can be changed at any time.
Messenger Kids, which is aimed at children from 6 to 12, launched in December. While some parents have said that they appreciate having control over their children’s social media access, it’s still been met with controversy. Facebook itself recently faced a number of questions from Congress over how user data it collects is handled, especially when those users are minors.
Move over Skype, Facebook Messenger is beefing up its calling features in a big way.
The social network is starting to roll out group calling features to Messenger’s iOS and Android apps, Facebook announced Wednesday.
The feature is rolling out to Messenger’s iOS and Android app over the next 24 hours, Facebook’s head of Messenger said Wednesday. A phone icon will appear in the top right corner of group conversations once the feature is live.
When you’re in a call, you can see who in the group is participating in the call and who is not. There doesn’t appear to be a limit on how many group members can participate simultaneously. Read more…