Facebook Messenger may include optional encryption feature
Facebook is reportedly planning to make it impossible for hackers to read private messages
Facebook Messenger, a chat service used by more than 900m users, may soon feature end-to-end encryption.
The Guardian reported that it has spoken to several sources connected to Facebook, who revealed the social media platform is planning to follow in WhatsApp's footsteps. However, instead of enforcing end-to-end encryption, users can decide if they want to "opt-in".
The optional privacy upgrade means it will protect communications between users from hackers and spies.However, if users opt-in, the encryption would prevent Facebook's artificial intelligence (AI) Messenger bots from working.
Facebook is not alone in implementing encryption; earlier this year Facebook-owned WhatsApp strengthened the default encryption settings on its messaging service. It meant that messages are only accessible to the sender and recipient, and cannot be intercepted as they travel between devices.
Facebook's decision to implement these security measures to WhatsApp and now Facebook is due to the high-profile FBI case, where the FBI attempted to force Apple to unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to a Syed Farouk, who along with his wife, killed 14 people and wounded 22 at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, in December.
Google also announced a new chat app dubbed Allo at its I/O conference in May this year, which also features end-to-end encryption, and similar to Facebook's Messenger app, if users switch it on the AI no longer works.
Technology companies and privacy advocates argue that stronger encryption is necessary to protect users from hackers and spies.
Facebook has not yet confirmed its encryption plans, however reports suggest the privacy feature may launch in the coming months.