How Facebook Made Its Messenger App More Secure, Versatile

How Facebook Made Its Messenger App More Secure, Versatile
Encryption Helps Facebook Keep Pace With Competitors
Messages Won't Hang Around Forever
Messenger Works on Most Operating Systems
You Can Make Voice Calls Too
Or Make a Video Call
Annotate Photos and Videos
Yes, Users Will Find Stickers
Share a Location Anywhere
Help Someone Out With Cash
A Little Chatbot in Your Life
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How Facebook Made Its Messenger App More Secure, Versatile

Facebook is now giving users of its Messenger app the ability to send "secret" messages with the option of a self-destruct timer. Here's why Messenger is an appealing way to communicate with others.

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Encryption Helps Facebook Keep Pace With Competitors

The addition of end-to-end encryption to private messages is a major one. Users can now hold private conversations without fearing they'll be intercepted by a third party. It also helps Facebook Messenger keep pace with Apple's iMessage, Telegram and Facebook's other messaging program, WhatsApp, which already offer the feature. Critics, however, bemoan the fact that criminals now will be able to communicate with each other more securely using the service, since law enforcement will no longer be able to get private chat records from Facebook.

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Messages Won't Hang Around Forever

In addition to end-to-end encryption, Facebook has added a self-destruct feature to its private messages. With that feature, users will be able to decide how long a message will be available to its recipient. After the message reaches its time limit, it's deleted from both devices. Think of it like Snapchat for messages.

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Messenger Works on Most Operating Systems

Facebook Messenger is designed to work on just about any device. The app is available to Android, iOS and Windows users, as well as in the browser, so it works across Mac, Linux and Windows.

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You Can Make Voice Calls Too

Facebook offers voice calling free of charge through Messenger and provides full HD audio support. However, Facebook Messenger users will be charged for data when they're not on WiFi. Even so, it will be a nice alternative to standard voice calling on mobile devices.

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Or Make a Video Call

To take on services like FaceTime and Skype, Facebook Messenger offers a video-calling feature for face-to-face conversations. Video calling quality will of course depend on the data connections users have, but the experience and quality are strikingly similar to those of Apple FaceTime and Google Hangouts.

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Annotate Photos and Videos

Like any other messaging application, users can share photos and videos in Facebook Messenger. However, the app adds a little something extra by allowing users to add a drawing or text to photos sent to others. It's a nice way to make multimedia communication a bit more personal.

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Yes, Users Will Find Stickers

At its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced support for digital stickers in iMessage. However, Facebook Messenger has offered the feature for quite some time. In a chat string, users can send a wide array of stickers to make their texts more "expressive," Facebook says. Users can send "delightful, silly, cute, [and] weird" stickers through the service.

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Share a Location Anywhere

Facebook Messenger lets users share their location with others so friends can connect with each other. Users simply turn on location sharing and send a map of their location—or any location, for that matter—to a friend. It's a convenient meet-up tool.

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Help Someone Out With Cash

Facebook Messenger enables users to securely send others money. Users simply need to add their debit card to their accounts. They can then decide how much to send to a friend and confirm the payment. The recipient will have the amount immediately deposited into his or her account. The service, which is only available in the U.S., is free.

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A Little Chatbot in Your Life

Chatbots are one of Facebook Messenger's newest features. Designed by companies, chatbots automatically respond to queries posed to them by users. Companies offering everything from shopping advice to customer support have heavily adopted chatbots, but there are some who still question whether chatbots have what it takes to thrive over the long haul. Facebook, at least, thinks the technology has legs.

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