Facebook is looking to strengthen the security of its popular Messenger app on iOS devices. The social media giant is now testing a new authentication feature that would force users to confirm their identities before gaining access to their messages.
The updated app would support both Face ID and Touch ID in addition to a standard passcode. Users would be able to configure the app based on their preferred form of authentication. They can also determine how long they want the app to wait before requiring another authentication request. For example, the user can set Messenger to give them a 15-minute window, or to ask for their fingerprint every time they close and then re-open the app.
Users would not need to log in to answer a Messenger call or to respond directly to messages on their phone’s notification screen. However, they would need to verify their identity to view older messages and gain access to the full app. As a result, the feature would offer a degree of privacy and prevent other people from viewing their conversations if the user chooses to hand their device to a friend or family member in an unlocked state.
“We want to give people more choices and controls to protect their private messages, and recently, we began testing a feature that lets you unlock the Messenger app using your device’s settings,” said Facebook in a statement. “It’s an added layer of privacy to prevent someone else from accessing your messages.”
Facebook brought similar security features to the iOS version of its WhatsApp messaging platform back in February of 2019. It would later add support for fingerprint recognition on Android devices in November. At the moment, the Messenger upgrade is only being tested with a limited number of iOS users, but there is a good chance that it will eventually expand to cover more iOS and Android devices if the company follows prior precedent.
Source: Apple Insider