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BlackBerry tacks on privacy tools in BBM update

Expiring messages, retraction capabilities added to messaging app

Mobility applications, Mobility, Blackberry (www.blackberry.com)

Canadian smartphone vendor, BlackBerry, today announced sweeping updates to its BBM messaging app, including a number of security and privacy features.

"At the core of the BBM experience is privacy and control," the company said in a statement. "These two notions are more important today than ever before as people are looking for simple ways to help guard against their messages getting into the wrong hands or being seen by anyone other than the intended recipient."

Features introduced for BBM's latest version include Timed Messages, which allows a user to set expiration limits on messages and pictures. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Then, once the timer has expired, or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen, the message is no longer visible. The user also receives a notification if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the image or message.

In addition, Message Retraction allows users to remove sent items from their BBM chat before or after they are read by the recipient.

"These new enhancements to BBM were highly requested so we're excited to be delivering them to users today," said John Sims, president, Global Enterprise Services, BlackBerry. "These capabilities will allow our users to be more creative in how they deliver their messages while also being confident that their content is kept private and seen only by its intended recipient."

Timed Messages and Message Retraction are premium features that will be available free and without restriction to BBM users over the next three months. After this time, unrestricted access to these features will become part of a broader bundle of features that will be offered as part of a BBM subscription.