Facebook on Wednesday announced a new “App Lock” feature and some other settings to add an additional layer of security for Messenger on iOS devices.

The new ‘App Lock’ feature on Facebook Messenger will help users prevent others from accessing their private messages. The users will be able to lock the app and their private chats behind Face ID or Touch ID on iPhone or iPad devices. 

To open the app and access the messages, the user will be required to use either Face ID or Touch ID authentication. 

“App Lock lets you add another layer of security to your private messages and helps prevent other people from accessing them. This optional feature gives you the confidence to know that if a friend or family member needs to borrow your phone, they won’t be able to access your chats,” Jay Sullivan, Director of Product Management, Messenger Privacy and Safety said in a statement. 

“App Lock uses your device’s privacy settings like fingerprint or face authentication to unlock the Messenger app, and your touch or face ID is not transmitted to or stored by Facebook.” 

Messenger users can find the ‘App Lock’ feature in the new “Privacy” settings section. The App Lock feature is now available on iPhone and iPad and is expected to roll out to Android in the “next few months”. You can download Facebook Messenger for iOS in the App Store. 

Besides App Lock, Facebook is also adding a Privacy section to the app’s settings, which will provide its users with a single location to control features like App Lock and what users they just recently blocked.

Facebook is also working on new controls that will allow users to decide who can message or call them directly, who goes to their requests folder, and who can’t message or call them at all. This will be similar to the message controls on Instagram.

The social media giant is also exploring more ways to protect users’ privacy and safety when someone they don’t know sends a message.

A similar feature already exists on Instagram and WhatsApp that blurs images in the message requests folder. This will give users the choice to view an image from someone they may not know before replying to the message or blocking or reporting the account.

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