How Privacy and Safety features work for Messenger

Through the Safer Internet Day, Messenger shares some tips about how the Privacy and Safety feature works on Messenger or how to use them.

When people trust their messages are private and feel safe online, they can express themselves freely. We build features that empower people to stay in control of their privacy and avoid potential abuse or harm. Safer Internet Day is a chance to remind everyone about new and existing Messenger features for privacy and safety that can help when messaging, calling, or video chatting with close connections.

– Raymond Endres, VP of Engineering, Messenger Privacy and Safety
  • Safety Notices: Safety notices provide tips to educate people on spotting suspicious activity and taking action to block, report or ignore someone when something doesn’t seem right. We developed these safety tips with machine learning that looks at someone’s activity on our apps to help educate people on avoiding scams or spotting impersonations or to help avoid interacting with unconnected adults. Since introducing our safety notices, we’ve educated close to 70 million people a month to avoid potential harm.
  • App Lock: App Lock adds another layer of security to private messages and helps prevent other people from accessing them. App Lock uses a device’s privacy settings like fingerprint or face authentication to unlock the Messenger app. A person’s touch or face ID is not transmitted or stored by Facebook.
  • Privacy Settings: The privacy settings section makes it easy to access choices and controls like blocked people or audience for stories and muted stories. We also introduced new controls that let you decide who can message your Chats list, who goes to your requests, and who can’t message or call you at all.
  • Forwarding Limits: Forwarding limits on Messenger ensure that a message can only be forwarded to five people or groups at a time. Limiting forwarding is an effective way to slow the spread of viral misinformation and harmful content that has the potential for abuse.
  • Safer Message Requests: Message requests now come with new features to give you context for who the requestor is, bulk delete options, and blurred images or videos. We also made the delete and block options more prominent in the request thread to help people take action if they don’t want to reply to the message.
  • Improved Reporting: We’re testing new ways to make it easier for people to report abuse or harassment and providing better feedback on the status of reported messages.
  • Review Blocked Accounts: In addition to making blocking more prominent in message requests and safety notices, we provided more transparency in the privacy settings so you can easily review accounts you’ve blocked.
How Privacy and Safety features work for Messenger
(Credit: Messenger)

We built these features with privacy and safety by design from the ground up. We also improved our product design to make some of these features easier to find. While some of them may not be available everywhere, our Privacy and Safety Hub and help center articles are available with more information.

In addition, we’re developing more innovative features that use activity across our platforms to prevent harm or abuse before it happens. For example, we use behavioral signals like an adult sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18 to share safety notices, identify and remove potentially harmful accounts and protect minors. This is part of our prevention, detection, and response framework that preserves privacy while combating abuse.

We are constantly innovating to keep our community safe and secure and give people the context and controls they need to prevent or respond to unwanted interactions.

– Raymond Endres, VP of Engineering, Messenger Privacy and Safety

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